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Elderly parents

DF keeps getting scammed online, how to overhaul his security?

14 replies

Jeffjefftyjeff · 12/03/2023 11:32

DF is in his 80s and has been scammed at least 4 times in last couple of years. All different but quite elaborate scams, between them involving combinations of bank, credit card, phone calls, emails (including named friends of his). He is pretty with it & tech savvy and has spotted / reported a few potential scams other than the ones he’s fallen for.

The volume of incidents could be coincidence, but I’m worried he’s being repeatedly targeted by the same group or his details are being sold between scammers.

how do we improve his security generally? The online guides I can find are quite basic (don’t tell anyone your PIN etc) but I feel like it would help to have proper training and possibly even personalised step by step improvement of his online security. Eg changing passwords, downloading Authenticator app, being more careful about what he shares in emails/ in Facebook. I know some of this but am a bit hazy and also my dad has very little patience (particularly with IT!) so we’d end up rowing. He might be better with someone ‘external’. Can you get ‘advisors’ for this sort of thing? Or is there decent online training anywhere?

OP posts:

WanderleyWagon · 12/03/2023 16:25

I can't suggest anything much but I'm following, because by coincidence I've had two conversations with my dad (early 80s) in the last two days about spam/scam - an email yesterday from the 'account' of an old friend sending 'photos' with a link, that he clicked on, and then a text today that said hi Dad, I've lost my phone, here's a new number, please contact it, which thank goodness he didn't do (because he doesn't know how) - he rang me instead and I was able to confirm I haven't lost my phone and it was a scam.

I am wondering whether that link (that he clicked on yesterday) resulted in today's phishing text. So I can see why you are worried that engaging with one such call/text might lead to others.

I basically said to him that he should ignore:
all messages about lost phones, changed numbers or asking for money;
all messages with links to photos;
any message telling him his account has been compromised/hacked, he needs to change his password, etc.

But his judgement is fragile, and his memory is getting worse. In the moment I don't know if he'll remember this. What I'd really love for him to have is care/companionship at home during the day so that if something like this happens, he has somebody there he can show it to who can advise him. But so far he's not interested in this kind of support even though he's increasingly struggling with any technological task - turning the TV on, making calls, getting messages.

Sorry, I feel like I'm derailing your thread a bit here. Just to say I completely sympathise; I don't know whether making a little poster reminding him about the kinds of messages/calls that are suspect and sticking it to the wall in various places in his house might help...? Would he think that was patronising?


CMOTDibbler · 12/03/2023 20:59

My dad was quite shaken by all the scam calls after falling for one minor one and having to have his card cancelled and new bank account, so I did him a laminated card for by the phone which said 'never give any details on the phone, don't buy anything, tell them they need to send you a letter about things (esp after the HMRC scam calls which he was desperately worried about) and so on.
Fortunately my mums ability to use the internet was one of the first things to go, so apart from having to sort out all the online things she'd set up, I didn't have to worry about that and they didn't have smart phones. Once they fall for one scam they absolutely do get put on lists which are sold between scammers so the number of contacts increase

FIL otoh is making himself very vulnerable and won't listen to any advice anyway as he 'knows what he is doing' <sigh>


BloodyThursday · 12/03/2023 21:00

Change his number change his email address. He will be on a repeat list.


MereDintofPandiculation · 13/03/2023 09:32

With his permission, my Dad’s emails were all mirrored to my machine,so I could move in fast if anything suspicious appeared.

CIFAS Protective Registration causes extra checks to be made if applications (eg for a loan) are made in your name


Jeffjefftyjeff · 13/03/2023 18:05

Thanks so so much everyone, it has been really helpful and reassuring to read through replies. I think the idea of a poster / laminated set of instructions is a really good one. If I can include things he wouldn’t have thought of this hopefully won’t be too patronising ie more like a to do list. Would welcome more ideas of what to include if anyone has any. I realised lots of people wished him happy 80th on Facebook (pretty sure his account will be open so that will be everyone knowing his date of birth!!), he’s put stuff on there about holidays, so am going cover social media safety as well.

I will look into Cifas protective registration too.

OP posts:

Badger1970 · 13/03/2023 18:09

It's awful isn't it? My Dad nearly fell for a couple. He was with BT so we put the call minder system on and that worked well for him. He also gave me his email password so I had them on my phone and deleted anything I didn't like the look of.


Edgeofthetower183 · 21/03/2023 06:46

If he has a high street bank account
Make an appointment with the bank
Take identification
Get a brand new bank account set up with new cards & get all his direct debits, pension moved

Ensure that he is made aware that this is serious

If he has an online bank account, the same can be set up too

Get power of attorney put in place


takeawayandwine · 21/03/2023 07:26

Yes, it's known that once a scammer has been successful, they will either pass the victim's details on or reinvent themselves as a 'new friend'.

Some banks offer free fraud protection to seniors or with his permission work out a system where he rings/texts you every time he is about to buy/contribute to something online. Might be a bit faffy but it might cause him to just pause and think 'wait, is this legit?'

My dad is tech savvy but he will occasionally ring me because 'Amazon' has called him or the 'Royal Mail' want £2.99 for a package etc. He now only spends on sites that he knows are legit and anything else he checks with me first.


Goodread1 · 21/03/2023 07:47

Hi Op@Jeffjefftyjeff

Just get your elderly relative a basic mobile with no Internet on it what's ever,

As obviously Scammers have sophisticated ways to improve their techniques


MereDintofPandiculation · 21/03/2023 08:22

Cifax offers a registration scheme for people at particular risk of fraud (because they have already been scammed)


LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 21/03/2023 08:45

I’ve taught DMIL how to see the email addresses from the scammers, see email addresses from legit sources, and ask herself “would British Gas be sending me an email from x7w67&*. She’s nervous but her smartphone is crucial to her for whatsapp, photos, calls, FaceTime, alerts when DFIL falls over etc etc etc. I also pop in to her account every so often and clear the backlog of junk, block email addresses and so forth.


Whataretheodds · 21/03/2023 08:50

Just be aware that scammers are becoming increasingly sophosticatef and can 'spoof' email addresses and phone numbers.
So while it used to be easy to see that the email address was unlikely, and/or you could call the company on a number you found online, that will all look legit.

Laminate by the phone/on the laptop is a good idea. Also make sure they have shut down all social media to private - go through the friends list and remove anyone you're not certain about.

Tell the bank about the fraud attempts - they can add a flag to the account.


MereDintofPandiculation · 22/03/2023 09:50

Just be aware that scammers are becoming increasingly sophosticatef and can 'spoof' email addresses They can spoof the visible address, can they yet spoof the address that you see when you mouse over?

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