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Tips to help your parents avoid scammers and stay safe online 

Keeping financial accounts secure from cyber criminals is a concern for everyone, but older adults are targeted even more. To help your parents or loved ones, we have tips on how to talk about best practices.

Start talking

A good place to begin is with a question. Ask your parents or older loved ones if there's anything they're worried about when it comes to protecting their finances online. If you’re concerned about broaching the topic altogether, you could use a recent headline or news story to start the conversation. 

If you're nervous about broaching the topic on your own, you can engage others like a sibling or close friend to help get the dialogue going. 

However you start the conversation, introducing best practices early can help give your loved one the tools they need to protect themselves and their financial information online.

Stay up to date on scams

As technology advances, cyber criminals have taken full advantage and created increasingly sophisticated schemes that can fool even the savviest of digital natives. They can be especially devastating for those less familiar with the tech landscape. Variations on phishing scams can be particularly hard to spot.

Here are some topics to cover in the conversation: 

Smishing and email scams

Cybercriminals often attempt to target individuals with seemingly urgent texts and emails. In the messages, scammers pose as a trusted establishment (like your bank) and require the person to either click on a link or call a phone number directly. It's always better to err on the side of caution in these instances, so encourage your loved one to ignore the message and call the company directly to verify the message. 


Vishing , also known as voice phishing, can use automated, computer-generated voice messages and AI to clone the voices of friends and family to obtain personal information. If your loved one receives one of these calls, it can be hard to know what to do in the moment. 

Deciding on a family safe word or phrase to confirm someone's identity while on the phone can help them identify a vishing attack.

Ask your parents or older loved ones what they’re worried about or any challenges they might be facing with their finances online.

Secure passwords

Online accounts and subscriptions have led to login overload for many, with countless usernames and passwords to keep track of. Talk to your loved one about how to make sure their logins are secure. 

Help them create strong passwords and share best practices like using unique passwords for every account and turning on multi-factor authentication.  If they’re concerned about keeping track of all of that info, or writing down their passwords on paper, a password management service might be a good option.

Keep devices up to date

The operating systems for devices like smartphones and tablets are constantly rolling out security updates to combat the evolving cyber crime landscape. Talk to your parents about the importance of keeping these smart devices up to date. If they’re worried about keeping up with security updates, you can help them automate them to make it easier. 

Keep the conversation going

Cyber scams aren’t going anywhere. As new technologies become available, attacks are going to continue to evolve, and the way you and your loved ones protect their personal and financial information needs to as well. Keep the lines of communication open to ensure you and your older loved ones remain safe online.

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