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How to Talk to Your Parents or Grandparents About Online Fraud

It can be difficult to tell your parents that they may not know as much as they think they do. However, in a world where it is increasingly easier for online scammers to get access to people’s money, it’s more important than ever that your parents and grandparents know exactly what they are up against when it comes to online safety.

If you’re having some trouble speaking with your parents are grandparents about this issue, here are a few ways to break the ice.

1. Times Have Changed: Older generations are very aware how things used to be, but maybe not as attuned to how things are now. A great way to bring this up is to have them Google their own name. Show them all of the information that can be found by simply typing their name into a search engine.

2. Who Else Says So? When a scam alert comes to your attention, be sure to show them who it's coming from. We’re not saying that your parents don’t trust you, of course they do, but when a scam alert comes from the IRS or another governmental agency, that can add a bit more credence to the severity of the issue.

3. Provide them with some information: We all know how it feels to have someone hovering over us while we’re trying to learn something new. It’s not fun and it can feel condescending. A good way to share new information or fraud tips is to send them to your parents or grandparents and let them read the information at their own pace and on their own time.

4. Talk to them, not at them: It’s not easy to admit that you may not be as on top of things as you used to be. Your parents and grandparents are people who have lived their adult lives making their own decisions, and probably some very important ones for you. Talk to them about how you, yes even you, have been a victim of being scammed, or almost so. Engage them in conversation and show them that they aren’t in the minority when it comes to not knowing right away what is a scam and what is not.

You know your parents better than anyone, so use your best discretion when bringing up the subject. While it may be difficult at first, it will be much more difficult for them if they were to somehow have their entire life savings scammed from them.

Here are 10 ways the FTC recommends deterring fraud that you can begin a conversation with:

Know who you’re dealing with

Look on-line for the company website, address and phone number. Look for reviews to help you make a decision if this is a reputable company and offer.

Wiring money is like sending cash

It is a red flag when sellers insist you wire money, especially overseas. There is no way to receive a refund of this money.

Review your monthly statements

If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact us, the card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

Give only to established charities, especially after a disaster

There are many “charities” that pop-up after a disaster. Most of the time, they are either fraudulent or ineffective. For more tips on donating, check out ftc.gov/charityfraud.

Talk to your doctor before you buy health products or treatments

Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies so you don’t receive products that could be dangerous to your health. Learn more about buying health products online.

Remember there’s no sure thing in investing

If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away.

Don’t send money to someone you don’t know

It’s best to do business with sites and people you know and trust. Consider using a payment option that provides protection, like a credit card.

Never pay fees first for the promise of a big pay-off later — whether it’s for a loan, a job, a grant or a so-called prize.

Don’t agree to deposit a check and wire money back

You’re responsible for the checks you deposit. If a check turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for paying back the bank. No matter how convincing the story, someone who overpays with a check is almost certainly a scam artist.

Don’t reply to messages asking for personal or financial information

It doesn’t matter whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad. You must be cautious of links and phone numbers included in the message because a scammer could be behind this correspondence. It’s called phishing.

Don’t play a foreign lottery

It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery. If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country through the mail, take it to your local postmaster.

For tips on cyber security and identity theft, please read our blog from October11th.

Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Views expressed are the current opinion of the author and are subject to change without notice.

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