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Warn Aging Parents Now About Fake Package Shipping Scams

It’s that time of year when online shopping increases as families buy their holiday gifts online. Shipping of items ordered usually goes smoothly but sometimes glitches happen. That’s exactly what scammers know and try to use to their advantage. Some of our aging parents may not be on the lookout for fake messages sent to them about items they ordered. You can alert them.

How The Fake Messages Work

The scammers send bogus messages to your aging parents or loved ones by email or text. Your elder reads words that say they missed a delivery attempt. They are concerned as the gift they actually ordered might not get there when they wanted it to arrive. They get uncomfortable with that and this momentary worry prompts the person to click on a link to re-schedule the delivery. The fake message might also say that what they ordered is ready to ship but they need to “update their shipping preferences.” Subtle pressure is a threat that also triggers action. The message can say if you don’t respond right away, they’ll return the package to the sender. Too many unsuspecting folks fall for this and click on a link in the fake message. They then get direction to enter information to fix the problem.

Momentarily distracted and not thinking about it, your aging parent can enter personal or financial information, which is exactly what fraudsters want. Now they can steal identities, money or anything accessible with that personal information.

Other Dangers Of Fake Shipping Messages

The link your unsuspecting aging parent clicks on could also install harmful malware on their phone or computer that steals their information. Thieves can get things like usernames and passwords to online banking, email, or social media accounts. They use those to steal a person’s identity and open new accounts in the victim’s name.

Caution Your Aging Parents About What To Do And Not Do

Anyone can fall prey to these scams. But if we are alert ourselves and warn our aging loved ones who may not be as alert as younger family members, we can stop a scammer from succeeding. Here are suggestions about what to tell aging parents. If they’re even a bit forgetful and they do shop online, write these warnings down:

  1. If they get a message about an unexpected package delivery that tells them to click on a link for some reason, don’t click.
  2. If they did order something online and it hasn’t arrived as expected, advise them to contact the shipping company directly, using a phone number or website that is real. Never use the information in an email or text message. There is no way to tell easily if that message is for real.
  3. If they recently ordered anything online as millions of people do in increasing numbers over the holiday season, and they got a message about needing to click on a link, urge them to go to the site where they bought the item. They can check delivery progress there.

We are all better off if we are proactive in reaching out to aging loved ones about this scam, even if they are fully alert, educated and smart. No one is immune from getting tricked into these cleverly arranged scams. If fraudsters weren’t consistently successful, they’d stop. But the opposite is true. More fake messages get into folks’ inboxes and texts all the time and the holiday season is fruitful for thieves. A respectful warning from family members to all of our elders can really help.

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