Helping Dad Protect Himself for Father’s Day
If your dad is like most fathers, he probably devoted a lot of time, energy, and even funds to keeping you safe when you were younger. And he likely wants something infuriating for Father’s Day: nothing. (This is an annual battle at every gift-giving holiday for many households: “Save your money! Spend it on your kids! I don’t need anything!”)
So, here’s a way to make Dad very happy this Father’s Day, without spending much at all. And it’s not nothing. You’ll be giving him something he really could use—peace of mind and identity protection—while also making sure he knows just how much he means to you.
Are you ready? Here goes: It’s time to have a talk with Dad about protecting his identity and making sure he knows about some of the scams that affect senior citizens.
Minimize risks at home
With all the “newfangled” technology and news of data breaches and hacking events, it can be easy to forget that old-fashioned dumpster diving is still a threat to your identity. Explain the dangers of discarding bills, bank statements, medical statements, and other documents before destroying them.
If you’re looking for a tangible gift, a solid home-model, cross-cut shredder would be ideal. He can recycle the shreds.
According to the FBI, people age 60 and over may be special targets of fraudsters who sell bogus products and services by telephone. The agency offers some warning signs of phone—or telemarketing—fraud that you may want to share with your dad.
- “You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”
- “You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
- “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.”
- “You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”
Internet scams and hoaxes
As older adults adopt technology, email, and social media, it’s important to educate them about online scams. Talk to your parents about avoiding phishing emails, not clicking on links in messages, and being wary of strangers who ‘friend’ them on social media. Help them recognize when an email looks genuine but may actually be a scam, and help them understand never to give their personal data to someone on the Internet.
Finally, you may want to point out some resources your dad can turn to for help if he thinks his identity may be at risk or his accounts have been compromised. It can be hard for seniors to turn to their adult kids with these kinds of concerns, especially if they feel their independence could be at stake. The Identity Theft Resource Center, which I’m proud to lead, is a good place to start for more information—both our website and our toll-free call center.
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.