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Senior Scams: A Stellar Tool to Protect Vulnerable Loved Ones

Scams Today:

Scam: A dishonest scheme, fraud, swindle. Scams come in countless forms and target many audiences. Unfortunately, one of the most common victims of scams are senior citizens. The variety of scam tactics used today can make it challenging to combat attacks and protect our aging loved ones. Though our aging loved ones may be vulnerable to scams, there are protective measures we can take, to limit exposure and shield many from risk. Sheri Hafen shared with Five County Area Agency on Aging one new technology tool that safeguards her own father from scam exposure in his day-to-day life.

Sheri’s Experience:

“They are so trusting.”, Sheri states, describing her father and the senior community around him. During a 6-month period of time, Sheri said, her father gave out his social security number along with other personal information multiple times over the phone. Living in an assisted living facility, it was important to Sheri and her father that he have access to a phone, often their sole means of communication. But that privilege was beginning to be threatened, as a phone in his room meant she was not the only one with access to her dad. His frequent encounters with senior scams bad enough that the facility staff began to unplug his phone to protect him. She had to freeze his credit account too!

As she was researching a solution, Sheri came across an Echo Show. What is an Echo Show? It is a smart speaker enabled with a touch screen. The Echo Show allows Sheri to contact her dad through a video message via wifi. She then tossed her father’s phone, along with all the scam callers!

The process from there was easy, Sheri said. Purchase one online for about $45 dollars and connect it to the facility wifi. Her father receives incoming calls by simply pressing the green button on the screen. He can make outgoing calls to Sheri or any one of his contacts by simply saying, “Alexa Call _____”. This has been a big relief Sheri expressed. “All around so much better!”

In’s & Outs

- Sheri said if her father doesn’t answer her call, the Echo Show allows her to “drop in”. This feature allows her to, “see what is happening and speak with my father.” She can get his attention and make sure he is alright.

- The Echo show has no monthly fee for service, allowing you to cancel monthly phone bills and save!

- The Echo device does not have a designated number, all calls are through wifi, therefore when receiving a call from your loved one using the Echo it will be an unknown number.

- Within the Echo Contacts it highlights who has an iPhone or device that can video chat.

Janeil Esplin is a licensed social service worker with a BS degree in Psychology.

As AAA-Five County expanded in 2016 to include direct service to military Veterans she gained Veteran Service Officer accreditation from the Utah Department of Veteran and Military Affairs. Specifically she specializes assisting 60+ year old veterans and veteran surviving spouses navigate the VA health and benefit programs.

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