Most people are aware that scammers frequently use the Internet to try to bilk good people out of the money they have worked hard to earn. When talking to an aging relative about Internet fraud, most family caregivers probably tell them not to click on links in emails from people they don’t know or to safeguard their passwords. But, caregivers may not talk to them about scams that are proliferated through social media. Though social media can be a great way for seniors to keep in touch with friends and family members, and a good way to check in with caregivers, it can also open them up to scams.
Caregiver West Hills CA – Could Social Media Be Making Seniors Vulnerable to Scams?
Kinds of Social Media Scams
Dishonest people come up with new ways to trick people out of personal information and money. Some current scams caregivers should be aware of are:
Friendship Scams: Fraudsters may use social media to contact seniors who are lonely and gain their trust. They build up a false friendship and then ask for money. They might make up stories about falling on hard times or an illness to tug on the older adult’s heart strings.
Chain Letters:In the past, you’ve probably received emails that tell you to forward them to a certain number of people or you’ll have bad luck. Today, those chain letters come in the form of tweets or posts. They might instruct viewers to retweet to get someone famous, like Bill Gates, to donate money to charity. In some cases, these messages can be nothing more than a prank. However, sometimes they are used to gather information to use in later scams.
Fake Deals:There are tons of ads on social media, and not all of them are from legitimate companies. Some fraudsters use ads to sell bogus goods, giving them access to people’s credit card numbers.
Charity Scams:Some scammers create fake charities and use social media to convince people to donate money.
Burglary: Posting vacation pictures on social media sites lets thieves know there’s no one home, so they know when to break into a home.
Ways to Avoid Social Media Fraud
Caregivers can help older adults to take steps to avoid social media fraud. Some tips to pass on to your aging relative are:
Set privacy settings so that only people you know can see what you post.
Don’t click on ads or links in social media. Sometimes they are not from the company they claim to be. Instead, search for the company’s website and shop that way.
Don’t use public wireless networks to access social media.
Don’t accept friend requests from people you do not know.
Probably the best way to prevent your aging relative from falling victim to social media fraud is to simply spend time talking with them. Tell them about scams you hear about and remind them to be careful what they click on. Also, encourage them to ask you about ads or requests before acting on them. Reassure them that you won’t judge them for being uncertain.