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How to Recognize a Computer Scam

Scams on the computer can look like advertisements on the internet, come as emails, etc. According to the Pew Research Center, 53% of those 65 and older use the internet and/or email, and over a third now use social networking sites. Since more seniors than ever are using computers, it’s important that your elderly loved one is aware of the scams circling around and knows how to recognize and avoid computer scams to prevent becoming a victim of financial fraud.


  • Insist that your senior does not click on ANY advertisements, anywhere and at any time. If pop-up ads shows up on their screen, go into their internet browser’s settings or preferences and turn on the setting to block pop-ups.
  • Make sure their computer is up to date with its security updates, and install anti-virus programs if needed.
  • Install a spam-filter on your family member’s email, which catches spam in a separate folder so they don’t have to deal with it. Some spam may sneak through however, so tell them to be wary of all unexpected emails. Any email offering money, a prize or free vacation, or requesting any kind of personal information at all, insist they delete and report to you.
  • Tell your loved one that when emailing their bank or any other institution to avoid including personal information.
  • Inform them about common email scams, such as emails supposedly from your bank requesting you enter or change your password, or email any sensitive information, which are fake emails.
  • Another common email scam is an email that appears to be from a foreign government official asking for help in return for large sums of money. Inform your loved one that anyone offering money over email or the internet is not to be trusted.
  • If your senior makes online purchases, insist that they don’t purchase anything from an unknown company or website. They must make sure it is reputable by checking with the Better Business Bureau before giving out their credit card information. Tell them to do their research, and always be skeptical of unfamiliar companies, good deals and low prices.
  • Also make sure your family member obtains the online seller’s email address and phone number as well as a physical address, so they can email and call them to make sure both work and are legitimate.
  • Insist your family member keeps all personal information private and secure at all times.

If you think someone is trying to scam you or an elderly loved one, call your local law enforcement and report it immediately.

If you would like to learn more about how our caregivers can help your loved one prevent senior fraud, give us a call at (805) 934-0600 or email us via our contact form.

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