I don’t know other types of precautions older people can take (and the younger ones too for that matter) to be safe in this day and age of technology. Nothing is foolproof.
On a personal level, old-fashioned “safe words” or a memory that only friends and family would know would be the first thing anyone should ask if someone says they know them. It would be so easy just to say “remember when…” Since the scammer doesn’t know all the little details that only your circle would know, this would be a good test before this person on the other end could advance in their tactics. If more elderly people did this, there would be less of a chance of being scammed on a personal level. It’s scary out there, and the elderly are preyed upon exponentially. All family and/or friends should get together and discuss these things that would be very helpful in any phone call situation. Some older folks get frustrated and could be giving out information they didn’t intentionally mean to give out. Heck, I’m sure kids give out tons!
To give an example of an internet scam. I recently joined Instagram. I got a request for someone to follow me. Well, their profile looked great, so I accepted. A few days later they thanked me when I followed them back, and then came the inquiries. How old are you? This question seemed innocent enough. What town do you live in? Most people don’t have a problem with answering that one either. The next question. How many kids do you have and what are their names and ages? OK, now you have my attention scammer. They sure didn’t waste any time. For me, the “game” was on! So, without giving them any more information and just being slightly engaging, I posted a few things with links where I could trace them if they checked them out. Got ya! Nigeria. After doing some photo recognition in both Google Image Search and Tin Eye, it turns out they had copied someone’s entire identity from that person’s posts on various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, their own website and Instagram and just changed the name and made it their own. Of course, I sent them back this pretty cool post letting them know they asked the wrong questions. 🙂
There are so many people that know this stuff, but I can assure you that many older adults do not know about all of it, and I think it’s our duty to keep our friends and family safe. Especially during the holidays when that’s a majority of preying time for all the scammers out there!
Be Safe this Holiday Season and Happy Friday!
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