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How to Protect Your Parents' Retirement

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

I’m no financial expert but judging by the hits and likes on #africanparentsbelike and #immigrantparentsbelike, Millennials from Immigrant families have something else in common; parents who have little or no idea of how treacherous the internet is.

Here's how to take charge before something bad happens:

1. Accept your fate: Traditional parent-kid roles have switched at least when it comes to the internet. The internet is a new shiny toy for the older gang and even although they might never agree, they have no idea how to work it. It is trial and error where they are concerned which makes them easy prey to scam artists. Remember all your learning years whenever you feel tempted to abandon ship. How you had your milk-poop butt wiped by these folks. Yup, I mean guilt yourself.

2. Debunk the myths: No one dies if that message isn’t sent to 7 people. Not everything on the internet is true even when the person is a journalist or has a ‘real’ website. Not all videos are real even when they look real. And an article can be fake news even though it includes “American scientists have discovered….”

3. It's Payback time: Unfortunately, our parents always feel the need to include us in their message list and for their own good you should include them in yours. Ignoring them won’t work, trust me. Instead, dig up a ton of phone scam horror reviews and videos and send them in bits. Start with 2 videos and a screenshot of a scam story at least thrice a week. You want videos that open their eyes to the truth, the depth of Cray Cray in these streets. And it helps that they’ll send it to their friends who will send it to their friends until the actual truth goes viral in their circle.

4. All hands on deck: I would recommend app sweeps when you can visit and ad blockers as well. Some nuts are tougher to crack than others – Grab every chance to have the talk with them. The talk is a concise explanation about how mass messages have been effectively used to spread lies to serve as distractions from pressing issues, propaganda for political agenda, sales spiel couched as advice, getting rid of the competition by naming their products in tragic stories. No one wants to be used this cruelly, least of all our parents. Remember how disappointed they would get whenever they caught us in a lie? Well, the goal is to elicit the same reaction from them.

  • Explain how easily cybercriminals piece together the ‘cluecrumbs’ we leave around. It’s the ‘simple’ things they need to be on the lookout for. Online quizzes asking for the name of your first pet or the city you were born in that may be fronts for cybercriminals to steal your identity.

  • Switch over to the 2-factor Log in.

  • The ever-scary phishing link that takes you to a site that’s a clone of your social media account. You enter your username and password into the site and boom, invaders in the ark. Get it? Hack, lol. Insist that they avoid logging into social media sites from any email. Cyber criminals use fake coupons as bait for Seniors and Baby Boomers because they love bargains. This is a common ploy used on messaging sites.

5. Back to School: Sign them up for a free course on Social Media Security awareness or curate a list of articles on the subject like this one for senior citizens:

In Covid-19 times when social distancing is a must, there's a higher chance of social media dependence among Seniors. It also helps to keep them chedule regular calls, Zoom family trivia and other fun virtual engagements. Our seniors have worked really hard and now want to enjoy the rest of their lives, as they should. Plus, there’s also the fact that their nest egg is our nest egg. Mi casa es su casa and all that good stuff.

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