One day a senior I know was hunched over his computer, very upset and frustrated. When I asked him what was going on he told me that he received a call from the “Royal Bank,” who told him they were having a problem with his account and that they needed to get into it to fix it. When I looked up at his computer I could see that someone was working virtually in his computer. I immediately unplugged the computer, and right away the phone rang and it was the “Royal Bank.” I told them that I unplugged the computer and that I would get in touch with our branch to make sure that they were in fact fixing a problem. There was a click on the other end of the phone they hung up.
When I talked to the senior about this he told me that they were phoning all day and eventually convinced him that there really was a problem.
I realized at that time that seniors really are vulnerable, and that they have no idea about how they are really the ideal group for hackers. We went over what he needs to do the next time they call and then we looked at other way that we could protect him from getting hacked again.
How Can We Protect Our Seniors?
Here are a few tips for helping protect seniors from computer-based fraud:
- Always set a password on the computer and never give it out to anyone no matter how convincing they are.
- Make sure to encourage seniors to never feel pressured. No bank or any reputable company will ask to get into your computer. If they phone always make sure that you tell them that you will check with the company yourself. Never phone a number that they give you, always look the number up yourself.
- Social Media is a great way to communicate to friends but seniors should not reveal any information that could be used to take advantage of them such as their phone number, Email address or home address.
- Have security software installed.
- Make sure seniors are taught how to log out of their computer and that they do so when they are not using it.
- There are courses at local community centers that people can go to where they can get help with this kind of information.