Social Media Safety

"Privacy settings" on the screen. Woman hands over the keyboard laptop at home interior.If you think social media is just for kids and millenials, think again.  According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those age 65 and older has grown 150 percent between 2009 and 2011.  A 2012 study also done by Pew, showed that 34 percent of seniors who are online, use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Generally, seniors who are using social media are viewing posts and photos from friends and family, which can help reduce depression and feelings of isolation.  Still, as great as it is to share photos and videos, you can’t forget about safety. Seniors are a common target for criminals and scammers who studying the social media habits of seniors, as well.  Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a social media scammer/hacker:

Go easy on the selfies and check-ins:

While it is fun to post selfies and mention places that you regularly visit in order for the grandkids to have a window into your life, it also gives a window for burglars and other criminals into your life. If you post online that you meet friends for lunch every Wednesday at a local restaurant, then burglars will know to break into your home on Wednesday between 12 and 1:30 p.m.  Selfies aren’t safe either. Photos taken with smartphones can have data such as time, date and location, which criminals can use to learn about your whereabouts.  So, either shut off your phone’s Global Positioning System or post selfies and check-ins after the fact. You want to be sure you are posting on social media for friends and family, not for criminals.

Don’t post phone numbers, street address, emails address or photos that would identify anything that a thief would want or need. This should be obvious.  If you don’t want telemarketers or weirdos bothering you, don’t make it easy for them to bother you. There are private messaging options on both Facebook and Twitter.  If someone you know doesn’t have a way to contact you outside of social media, you can provide contact information via the messaging option. If someone you don’t know asks for contact information while you are on social media, ignore that person. In addition, if you own antiques, art work or expensive jewelry, it is a good idea not to exclusively feature them. (i.e. “Look at this Peter Max painting I bought in an estate sale.”) Either crop them out of photos or don’t post photos of them on social media in the first place.

Check privacy settings, yet don’t be so quick to post a comment

You should consider that everything you post on social media can be seen by both friend and foe with very little effort. Think twice about posting a rant about your boss or co-worker or something pro or con about a particular politician. An innocent little post to you, might not seem as innocent to others. Still, you can set your social media preferences so that only those who follow you will see those posts. “I have like-minded friends,” you might be thinking. “Wouldn’t that protect me?” No, it won’t, because your friends could share your posts with others and you don’t know who your friends’ friends are.  So, if your post is something that you wouldn’t want on a billboard along I-95, don’t put it on social media.

Being on social media can be a lot of fun.  Still, you need to be careful. You don’t want your posts to get you into trouble. So, using some common sense should keep your social media experience fun.


What Happens to Digital Accounts When You Die?

Facebook login screenSocial media is great, since it lets you can connect with faraway friends and family.  MP3s and online television networks like Hulu and Netflix are fun as well, since they give you the opportunity to enjoy music and television programs on any device and on your schedule.  Of course, let’s not forget about how great email is. Write a message, hit send and it’s off.

Have you ever given any thought to what will happen to your digital accounts when you die?  Like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought to your digital accounts, since it isn’t a physical thing or even an asset.  Still, it is something that you need to consider because your online accounts don’t just disappear when you die. According to Intel Security, the average person has 27 different logins.  Yikes! That’s a lot of passwords to manage, so it would make sense to set up a plan for your digital assets after your death.

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Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The PhoneWe try to protect the older members of our families. We look in on them when we can, we advise them to keep their homes secure, we make sure they get to their doctor’s appointments.

But in some cases, threats to senior citizens can come from people half a world away.

Financial scams targeting seniors are – unfortunately – everywhere these days. Here are some of the most common, according to the National Council on Aging.

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Elder Abuse: Signs of Abuse and How You Can Prevent It


Elder abuse is a growing problem that affects thousands of elderly individuals. Many times, abuse is well hidden and elders feel ashamed of being victimized, making it difficult to correct the situation. As the adult child, family member or friend of an elder, you can help prevent abuse by knowing the signs and what to do if abuse is suspected. The questions and answers below will help you identify elder abuse and prevent any further abuse.

What is elder abuse?

According to the Administration on Aging, elder abuse is a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation and despair.

What are the types of elder abuse?

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Tax Scams to Avoid

Don’t fall victim to tax scams! Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Here are some of the recent 2014 tax scams the Internal Revenue Service wants you to be aware of:

(1) Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security Number (SSN) or other identifying information – without your permission – to commit fraud or other crimes. In many cases, an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund.

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Steps to Prevent Identity Theft and What to Do if It Happens

Identity theft isn’t just an unauthorized charge on a credit card. Identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.”

Although financial institutions, health care companies and other businesses have taken steps to improve security measures, you cannot rely on them to protect you. Taking steps now can prevent you from a major headache later.

PREVENTION – Be sure to always review your monthly statements from your checking or other financial accounts. The earlier that you catch an error, the easier it will be to resolve it. Also, balancing your check book will help you see where your money is going and will help you spot any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Continue Reading Steps to Prevent Identity Theft and What to Do if It Happens

Tips for Safe Summer Travel

Are you thinking about traveling this summer?  Senior citizens love to travel over the summer. It is important to keep health and travel safety concerns at the forefront. It can ensure a safe, fun, and problem free trip. Here are some tips to ensure safe travel:

To keep yourself healthy while traveling, follow these tips:

  • Pay attention to the heat and stay hydrated. The easiest way to stay cool and comfortable is to drink 6-8 glasses a day. Don’t wait till you are thirsty…drink throughout the day even if you aren’t thirsty.
  • Increase fluid intake by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Continue Reading Tips for Safe Summer Travel

Seniors and fraud: how to recognize it and stop it

Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The PhoneAccording to a recent article in Elder Law Answers, 70 percent of the nation’s wealth is controlled by people age 55 and older. Of course, as people get older they need help with day to day activities and finances can be one of those activities. That’s where the potential for fraud comes in.

Many times the perpetrators are people that the victim knows, such as an adult child, grandchild or employed caregiver. Signs that fraud is taking place include:

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