We recently had a client call into our office to ask us “Do you know how to protect your parents from Cyber Attacks and Computer Viruses?” Oh boy. This is a topic we are unfortunately all to familiar with .
In addition to the regular computer viruses we can all be vulnerable to; many elderly are also being victimized by computer hackers. When it comes to Cyber Attacks the elderly are paying a big financial price.
How To Protect Your Parents from Cyber Attacks and Computer Viruses
- Gone Phishing. Have a conversation with your parents about what Email Phishing is. Email phishing is when scammers send an email posing as a well-known company. In our office alone over the past few months we have gotten phishing emails claiming to be from UPS, Comcast, and Capital One. They are trying to get you to click on the link and enter your account information. Don’t do it. You can always call the company directly from your statements (not from anything listed on the email) or close the email and go to the company site directly via your browser. Another way you can check these emails is to hover your mouse (don’t click) on the link to see the real destination.
- Email Security. The truth is for many elderly folks computers, email, social media are uncharted territory. Talk to your parents about good email habits. Yes, you have anti-virus software but it is not going to protect your from everything. Talk to them about not clicking on attachments they were not expecting. If the email is from someone they know call them before clicking on the attachment to ensure it is valid.
- Internet Safety. Talk to your parents about Internet Security in general. Talk to them about how you identify whether a site is secure or not. Not downloading programs onto their computer without talking to you or a trusted computer advisor beforehand.
- Be Careful Out There. Many of the same principles that our parents taught us growing us are applicable here. Have your guard up with people who you don’t know. Not to enter their personal information on web forms they come across online without talking to you or a trusted computer advisor.
- Offense is the best Defense. The truth is many times the elderly are taken advantage of because they don’t have a computer or tech company that they know and trust in place and they just don’t want to bother their families. Find a local company that you trust to help your parents. The fact is you can have monitoring software installed on your parents computer that can monitor the health or the computer itself, provide Anti Virus monitoring and support, and apply security patches for them. When our clients download The Shield they also get an icon in the lower right hand corner of their computer that they know is their trusted computer advisor. They can open a chat anytime with a tech question or concern.
The sad truth is that Elder Financial Abuse is on the rise. When it comes to computer scams telemarketing is big for targeting seniors. Specifically, they are really honing in on those over 60, and especially women in this category that live alone. If you are searching for ways to protect your parents from cyber attacks and computer viruses there are some great resources online. This article from The FBI gives some great tips regarding elder financial abuse and telemarketing.
The fact is the elderly are being targeted. In the above article from The FBI they talk about the reasons. They are more likely to have a financial nest egg, they are generally more polite and trusting, and when they are victimized they are less likely to report it.
One of the most infuriating things to us is the way these scams play out. The scammers are using scare tactics with our elderly. At initial contact, they are trying to scare the person to open a remote session with the scammer. The will say they can see their computer is compromised or even claim they are with Microsoft. They will do anything to get the person to open a remote session. We have had some clients pay as much as $4000 for the pleasure of being victimized. Not to mention the damage done to their computer, viruses uploaded, and who knows what else.
Even worse, they keep victimizing them. We have gotten reports that they will keep calling trying to extort more money after the original contact.
The first thing that you can do to protect your parents from cyber attacks and computer viruses is to open the lines of communications. Keep the technical jargon to a minimum and just talk to them in language that makes sense to them.
Our parents don’t always want to accept help from us. They want to do things on their own as they always have. Who doesn’t? Find a trusted computer advisor your parents can rely on as well. If you help them with this piece now your parents will be less likely to be scammed in the future and will be open to asking questions before they get themselves into trouble.
One of the most prevalent scams is a call from someone claiming to be their tech support company. If steps are taken on the front end so your parents know who their trusted tech advisor is and in the case of The Shield know that person is one click away you can worry a little less about your parents.
Questions about protecting your parents from cyber attacks and computer viruses? Contact us at Code Blue Computing we are here to help!