Helping Older Generations Avoid Scams and Navigate the Digital Landscape

Smiling Mature Woman Making Payment Via Credit Card For Shopping

Online frauds, otherwise known as internet scams, are becoming more prevalent in today’s society. With the increased use of technology, such as computers, phones, and tablets, scammers have access to target seniors, especially those that may be unsuspecting. 

Seniors are more likely to hand over their personal information to scammers because they are trusting, polite, and often do not realize that they are being scammed. On top of that, seniors typically have assets like savings, housing, and good credit. Scammers view older adults as an easy target, but there are steps that we can take to ensure that our loved ones are secure.

Knowing what a potential internet scam looks like allows us to take preventative action to help seniors keep themselves and their information safe while online. Practicing safe internet use not only increases education but also boosts confidence in technology. Let’s look below to see what we can do to help older adults stay safe on the internet. 

5 Ways to Avoid Internet Scams for Seniors

  1. Knowledge is Power

Educating older adults on the dangers of the internet is just the first step in ensuring that they and their information stay safe. Informing adults that not every website is credible and trustworthy is a key element to helping them avoid scams.

Here is a common occurrence to watch out for:

An email shows up saying that their account is locked and can be retrieved by following a link provided. By following the link provided, the scammers are able to track their victims and ask for them to provide personal information.

Some of the information typically asked for are:

  • Credit card numbers
  • Bank information
  • Full name
  • Social security number
  • Address
  • Passwords 
  1. Be Available

Being available as a reference for older adults when they are unsure if a website is credible is a solution to uncertainty. It is better to be interrupted by a phone call or question than to have a loved one give away their information and identity through a scam.

  1. Start with Security 
  • Create a Strong Password

Creating strong passwords can help prevent scammers from getting in. When creating an account for most sites, they will estimate how strong your password is. The goal is for that password to be as strong as possible. Strong passwords are less likely to be typed in as a guess from hackers and scammers that have usernames and email contacts. 

  • Make Your Passwords Different

Another great tip is to have different passwords for every account that you have. I know, that sounds like a hassle when it is easy just to have one strong password that you can reuse on various sites. However, if a hacker or scammer can figure out that one password, then all of your information on every site that had that password is now corrupt. It is better to start with different strong passwords than have your information taken!

  • Write Down Your Passwords

For older adults, sitting down with them when they make accounts for websites can be incredibly beneficial. Then, you and the account holder will know the information and can write it down in a safe and secure place. That also allows you to have peace of mind knowing that the password and log-in information is strong. 

  1. Have Patience

Chances are, older adults may feel a sense of frustration when things go wrong on the internet. They can feel helpless, lost, and uneducated when they are testing out their internet usage. Walking seniors through a website, app, or how to set up an account can help them feel more confident. Writing down instructions is also a great way to remind them how to use certain websites and assess information.

  1. Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Having the information on what to do if a scam does occur is key to staying safe. Though that does not prevent fraud from happening, there is peace of mind knowing what to do if it does happen. The uncertainty stems from confusion and anxiety in stressful situations, so knowing what action to take helps calm those negative emotions. It is always better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and have it never happen than to be blindsided by a scamming situation!

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

If you or an older individual have been scammed, there are resources online that can help. Sites such as What to do if You Were Scammed by the Federal Trade Commission have helpful information that walks you through the things you should do. 

To summarize the government resources, here are the things that should be done:

  1. If you paid a scammer:

Contact your credit or debit card company or bank.

Contacting your bank allows you to report that any transaction was fraudulent and potentially be reimbursed. Your bank can also put a hold on your card and give you a new card so that more fraudulent charges aren’t made under your account and name. 

  1. If you gave a scammer your Social Security number:

Go to to report it. 

You may need to monitor your credit, and this site gives you instructions to follow.

  1. If you gave a scammer your passwords:

Be sure to reset passwords for any website that you use that password for. Make sure that the password is strong and different from the one that was given away.

Resources for Senior Support from AHHC

Keeping seniors safe expands beyond the physical realm. Knowing the dangers of the internet is the first step in making sure that your loved ones are using safe online practices. 

No matter what assistance is needed, our professional caregivers are ready to tackle any situation. It is our mission to keep your loved ones safe. If you would like to set up assistance for an older adult, contact us now.