In the last decade, social media has become a useful tool in helping seniors stay connected with their family. For widowed seniors, loneliness can be a real problem, and Facebook helps them feel involved in the day to day life of their family. While plugging into social media has enormous benefits, it is also a prominent tool used by scammers to target unsuspecting seniors. Always set up your loved one’s account to the most private settings available on Facebook and educate them on making wise decisions in what they post. Here are five things our Savannah retirement community wants seniors to know they should never share on Facebook.
1. Personal Information
Explain to your loved one how crafty scammers can be. A quick skim over someone’s account will quickly give away their birthday; couple that with Grandma’s story of the day she was born and where, and a hacker has her birthdate and birthplace. Both of these pieces of information can be used to prove an identity online.
Help your loved one create a secure password that will not be easy to guess. Seniors often use a birth date or the name of a pet or loved one, but scammers looking to hack their account can find this information by digging through their profile. Be sure they understand they should never enter their password on any other page, and there will never be a legitimate pop-up asking for their password. Many click bait posts will ask for your password, and seniors often fall victim to these scams.
Be sure the location services setting is turned off and encourage your loved one not to post their whereabouts. For “snowbirds” who travel south for the winter, or for those taking a vacation, it is of particular importance not to share their location. Doing so tells thieves that their home will be empty for a period.
4. Fake Stories from Fake People
Seniors should never accept friend requests or messages from anyone they do not know personally, and should never share posts from someone they do not know. Clickbait posts are often hoaxes that will download a virus to their computer and be used to hack their account. A good rule of thumb is if the post was not originally posted by someone you know and trust, it is best to scroll past it.
5. Family Business
Educate your loved one about the dangers of sharing photos of their grandchildren. Of course everyone wants to show off pictures of their grandchildren, but those photos may contain clues to their location such as their school, and their family member may not want them shared publicly for safety reasons.
For many seniors, Facebook maybe a bit of culture shock as they see their sweet grandchildren’s shenanigans online. Encourage your loved one to use the private messaging option rather than addressing their concerns or carrying on conversations publicly through commenting on a post. As a whole it is best to keep family matters private, especially in the case of exciting announcements. Finding out you are going to have a great grandchild is exciting, but it is best to let the parents make it “Facebook Official,” so remind your loved one not to share family news until the parties involved have.
With proper safety precautions Facebook will be an enriching experience for your loved one. Many retirement communities like The Marshes’ Savannah Retirement Community use Facebook to post announcements of events and activities their residents will be interested in, so be sure to help them plug into their social circles online!