I keep saying I'm going to start a web service geared to my Mom and her friends because I spend a lot of time helping them with their computer and Internet issues. The only thing stopping me is that I want to call it Blue-Haired Web Service, and my Mom would kill me if I did. Age jokes are NOT funny to her. Don't even get her started on the label senior citizen!
All joking aside, I was typing up some security tips to disseminate to her and my other blue and silver-haired "students" and thought I'd pass them along to you as well. I read these in today's Houston Chronicle and thought their expose in the Business section was useful knowledge for everyone.
If you have someone of a certain age you love, print this out for them.
1. Don't ever answer an email supposedly from a bank or mortgage company. Banks don't send emails to customers. Sheesh, they barely have the time to service you when you stand in line so what makes you think they'll personally email you? DELETE without opening the message.
2. Don't ever answer an email supposedly requesting a donation for charity. Legit charities don't use email to solicit donations. DELETE without opening.
3. Don't ever answer an email where a store wants to send you a free gift card. Trust me, Macy's isn't in the habit of sending $500.00 gift cards. DELETE without opening.
4. If you set up a PayPal or Ebay account, they will never send you an email without using the user ID to contact you. Be suspicious of every email that says it's from Ebay or PayPal. Open your browser, go to your online account, and read about how to verify legitimate emails. Print out the information. Keep it by your computer so you can check out those emails if necessary.
5. To verify whether a nonprofit organization is legitimate, got to www.guidestar.org.
6. To check out securities dealers or legitimate information on investments, go to www.sec.gov/investor/seniors.
7. To check out whether the amazing email story you received from a friend is true, go to www.snopes.com.
8. Not on the Net, but in real life, if someone befriends you, earns your trust. and then, in whatever way or circumstance, offers to help you manage anything if you'll give them power of attorney, run the other way. Power of attorney should be 3 words that are warning signals screaming: "Danger, danger!"
9. Let your representatives know that you support legislation to enhance punishment for those who prey on the elderly and the disabled.
10. Register with every "do not call" agency so you won't get those calls from telemarketers. If you still get them, learn these 2 sentences and overcome whatever manners that were drilled into you as a child: "No, thank you. Remove this number from your call list."
They're supposed to say, "Yes, we will." If they start arguing. Hang up. If they call back, ask for their name and phone number and report them to your state's attorney general.
I look at it this way: unsolicited emails and phone calls do not require white gloves and manners. Though some of the stuff falling into my Inbox makes me think I need to wear rubber gloves to deal with it. E-yu!