Security for Seniors in these Digital Times.

There are hackers out there. That is a fact. Security is an issue in this world of technology.

I want to send a message out to all my readers that there are many ways that your security can be compromised.  E-mail is not a secure medium and privacy cannot be ensured. Email is vulnerable to interception and forging. All E-mail communication is subject to delay and may from time to time be undeliverable due to technical problems.

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION OR INSTRUCTIONS to your brokers such as orders to buy or sell securities and money or security transfer requests should never be done by E-mail.

We have all been subject to answering the phone to a “fog horn” of a cruise ship to entice us to a so called “free” trip to the Caribbean.  Even  the local airline company is giving away “free” trips.  Neither of the two above were authentic.

Seniors, especially, are targeted with calls saying a relative is hurt and needs money at once.

Don’t for a minute believe these calls.

Scammers pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They might promise lottery winnings if you pay “taxes” or other fees, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.

If you receive a “link” to open on an email from someone you know be very careful. It may be authentic but then again it may not. Open it only if you have heard from this person that they are going to send  you a link to something.

Check your online banking accounts often, even daily. My friends this past month told me examples of attempted fraud on their credit cards. I know banks in Canada reverse immediately any charges to Visa/MasterCard that were not made by me, something you can do with just a phone call. Be careful to hide your pin when entering it while using your credit card.

I have some advice to my readers with aging parents.

Watch for any of these warning signs:

* An increase in the amount of mail with too-good-to-be-true offers.
* Frequent calls offering get-rich-quick schemes or valuable awards.
* Many calls for donations to unfamiliar charities.
* A sudden inability to pay normal bills.
* Requests for loans or cash.
* Banking records that show cheques or withdrawals made to unfamiliar companies.
* Secretive behaviour about phone calls.
* If you suspect that someone you know has fallen prey to a deceptive telemarketer, don’t criticize them. Encourage them to share their concerns with you about unsolicited calls or any new business or charitable dealings. Assure them that it is not rude to hang up on suspicious calls.

How secure is your home?

It is devastating to have your home broken into and your belongings strewn everywhere! Do you have an alarm system? One that can’t be by-passed? Do you keep important papers and family treasures in a safety deposit box at your bank or credit union? Are your iPad’s and/or PC’s password protected? Are your passwords easy to find like in a book on your coffee table or put on a post-it note and stuck to your fridge? OR are they in code that only you can decipher? (Mine are).

Your car keys not only have access to your car

If you ever have your car stolen usually not only is your car gone but access to many of your possessions are gone too. Your home/garage are often accessible as well and so is your mailbox!  Maybe even the key to a home of a relative or close friend.  Know what is in your car could be information used by a thief.

Make sure you review your security needs regularly and act accordingly to protect you and your family.


2 Comments, RSS

  1. Kate

    Great advice Auntie Mo.
    Canadian banks and Canada Revenue Agency often announce that they will NEVER ask for personal or financial info by email, but that message needs to be repeated as often as possible — along with many other security tips. And, it’s not just Seniors who have been targeted and believed the phishing emails. A few years ago, one of my much younger work colleagues fell for it, but then had immediate second thoughts right after she sent the reply email with her bank info. Still, it meant she had to close her bank accounts and open new ones. A great deal of hassle, even though the potential crime was caught in time. We all live & learn.

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