Online security

Be computer smart.

Ten quick tips to help you stay safe online:

1. Keep your personal information private. Be careful of requests asking you to provide personal and/or financial information. Protect your information and do not respond to emails or phone calls from people or organizations you do not know, especially when they are asking for confidential information.

2. Be wary of suspicious emails. Never click on a link or attachment in an email which seems suspicious to you.

3. Always log off your computer. Make sure to properly log off and close your browser window. This way others can't see your information later.

4. Protect your PINs and passwords. Never share your passwords with anyone, and create passwords which are difficult to guess. Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Use different passwords for everything, and change them often.

5. Be careful of pop-up windows. Many of them will pop-up on your computer screen and request financial or identification information. Do not click any 'action' buttons within a suspect pop-up window.

6. Give your computer regular health checks. Remember to check your operating system and web browser vendors for software "patches" and updates regularly. These will help to protect against software vulnerabilities.

7. Run antivirus software. And, keep it up to date! This way you can protect your computer from potentially damaging viruses. Always use antivirus software which is capable of scanning files and email messages for viruses.

8. Use personal firewalls. A firewall is important as it creates a protection barrier between your computer and the internet. It helps protect against malicious attacks or data from entering your computer.

9. Use security software. And, keep it up to date! This can protect against unwanted spyware and spam gaining access to your computer. 

Speak to your older loved ones about online safety.

Unfortunately, our senior members are often the targets of fraud.  Potential fraudsters will prey on their trusting nature and generosity. Some seniors may also be impaired in some way, perhaps suffering from Alzheimer’s, and can be more prone to giving away money than they would have in earlier years.

Generally, this age group is vulnerable because:

Seniors have often accumulated large nest eggs in their retirement which attract scam artists, and
Many seniors can’t help but be polite and trusting of others; after all, they were brought up this way

Seniors often don't report fraud because they don't know where to begin or who to call. They often feel ashamed and don't want to let anyone know they may have made a mistake.

Here are two of the most common scams which typically target seniors:

1) Internet and email scams

Some senior citizens aren’t internet savvy and can find the online world scary and difficult to navigate. Research reveals adults over the age of 74 turn to the internet mainly for health information, product information and the latest news; however, when it comes to online and email safety, they can easily be talked into something they don’t really understand. We all like to think that we wouldn’t fall for a scam, but it can happen to anyone.

2) Shady stock brokers and financial advisors

Many older adults unwittingly trust their stock brokers and financial advisers, blindly taking all their suggestions. This makes it easy for less-than-reputable professionals to take advantage of their clients. Shady trades, investment pressures, false or misleading information…these all make up a large part of senior fraud. Finding trusted advisors with strong reputations who are easily accessible can help allay those fears, both for caregivers and seniors alike.

If you or your loved ones think they may be being targeted for a scam, call your local Noventis branch or the contact centre at 1-844-826-6500 and ask us for our advice.

We also know many of our members are concerned about how to manage their assets as they age.  Life changes can be overwhelming, and some may worry about what they would do if they became unable to manage their own finances.  We can help.  Come in and see us today to map out your plan.

The Government of Canada provides great resources for information on Powers of Attorney and Joint Banking Accounts.

 

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