Cybercrime – What is it and How Do I Protect Myself

The world seems to get smaller every day as technology advances at breakneck speed. While this enhances our ability to stay connected and take advantage of lots of conveniences, it can also put us at risk too. How do you protect yourself from cybercrime? How can you tell if someone is trying to take advantage of you? And how can you help your aging loved ones protect themselves? If you’re concerned about cybercrime and how it affects all of us, then give episode 28 a listen. If you are a reader you’ll find the transcript for this episode at the bottom of the page.

What is Cybercrime

Cybercrimes are criminal offenses committed using a computer,  cellular phone, tablet, or other forms of computer technology, such as the use of online social networks. Victims of cybercrime may or may not be victimized while using a computer themselves.

According to a 2019 survey, 73% of American adults age 65 or older are using the internet. This is really great on so many levels, but can also leave seniors, an already vulnerable population, even more at risk.

My Guest

My guest on this episode is Mark Batchelor, Vice President of Victim Services Programs at Cybercrime Support Network, a public-private, nonprofit collaboration created to meet the challenges facing millions of individuals and businesses affected every day by cybercrime. A passionate advocate of online safety issues and privacy issues, Mark is dedicated to assisting people to find the help they need.

My Biggest Takeaways

There was so much good information in this conversation, but a few things stood out to me.

  • “I’ll call you back” – When you get a suspicious call, tell the caller you will call them back. Hang up the phone, verify their claim by calling the entity they claim to be. Chances are, you will find out it was not legitimate.
  • Report, report, report! –  Cybercrime is severely underreported. By reporting incidents of cybercrime you are protecting yourself and others from bad actors looking to take advantage of us all.
  • Educate yourself – Stay aware of current scams by visiting the websites listed in the Links section below. You can even sign up to have email alerts sent to you with the latest information.
Links & Resources We Mentioned
Thanks for listening!

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Transcript
Closed Captioning

Cyber Crime – What is it and How Do I Protect Myself

Episode 28

Recorded October 2, 2020

SPEAKERS

Host: Liz Craven Guest: Mark Batchelor

 

Liz Craven  00:04

This episode is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide, your guide for all things senior care and resources. Available in both English and Spanish you can find the guide and much more at Polkeldercare.com.

 

Liz Craven  00:22

The world seems to get smaller every day as technology advances at breakneck speed. While this enhances our ability to stay connected and take advantage of lots of conveniences, it can also put us at risk too. How do you protect yourself from cybercrime? How can you tell if someone is trying to take advantage of you? And how can you help your aging loved ones protect themselves? If you’re concerned about cybercrime and how it affects all of us, then this is the podcast episode for you.

 

Liz Craven  01:04

Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. The mission of Sage Aging is to help you connect to information and resources that will empower you to master the aging and caregiving journey. Weekly I’ll bring you great conversations with industry professionals and others to shed some light on topics of aging and to empower you to take charge of your journey. So grab a cup of coffee, or maybe a cool glass of lemonade, and sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now, and let’s get started.

 

Liz Craven  01:43

Welcome to Episode 28 of the Sage Aging podcast. We’re living in a digital world. And according to a 2019 survey, 73% of US adults aged 65 or older are using the internet. While a more tech savvy senior population is a good thing, it also leaves it more vulnerable than ever before. So how do we educate ourselves an our loved ones about cybercrime and fraud? How do we recognize scams and schemes before falling victim to them? We’re going to answer those questions and more today. My guest today is Mark Batchelor, Vice President of Victim Services Programs at Cybercrime Support Network. You’ll find all of Mark’s contact information and links to Cybercrime Support Network in the show notes. And you can also find that in the blog post for Episode 28 at Sageaging.us. Welcome to the show. Mark. Thanks so much for joining me today.

 

Mark Batchelor  02:46

Thanks for having me, this is great.

 

Liz Craven  02:49

Well, I can’t wait to pick your brain a bit today so that my listeners and I can be in the know about cybercrime and fraud and figure out how we can protect ourselves, but first, we’d all love to hear a little bit more about you and how you got into this field.

 

Mark Batchelor  03:06

Oh, well, I’m a living in Orlando. I’m not a native of Florida. Unfortunately, I am. transplant like many other people from up north, born and raised in New Jersey. But I’ve been in the nonprofit field in Central Florida since, well, for about 12 years or so. And I’ve worked with all kinds of populations, a lot of vulnerable populations, including our seniors. Unfortunately, I’ve seen elder abuse cases and neglect and things like that. But I’ve also worked with school aged children and I’ve worked with people with financial disparity issues and you know, housing and food insecurity. And they became very close to my heart. I’m very attached to not only the community in which I live, but I consider myself a full Floridian. So the work I do, I do statewide, and I really care about all the different populations that we have here in Florida and are quite a lot of different demographics and communities. And it’s it’s really a great place to be.

 

Liz Craven  04:09

Well, we’re happy to have you here because we need people looking out for us. And I know that the cybercrime realm that you’re in is not where you always were, so what brought you to that? What inspired you to follow that path?

 

Mark Batchelor  04:25

I’m a big advocate of online safety issues and online privacy issues, so this was a good fit when it came to my attention. And so there’s a lot of good mission, I guess cross pollination, because everybody is affected by cybercrime one way or another. There are different ways in which we’re affected. All kinds of different crimes, which we’ll we’ll talk about, but it can have real serious consequences for people. The term cybercrime I think, is so broad that people don’t really consider the individual effects of it. Sometimes we just think about big hacks, or we think about, you know, something we read in the paper that affects, you know, ransomware, or maybe a data breach. But we don’t see that it affects people on a personal level. And not only in their pocketbooks, but also psychologically, the effects of it. If somebody is, say, embroiled in a scam, where they give away a large part of their life savings, maybe that can fray relationships with your family, which can cause a lot of trauma. We see people with suicidal ideation, sometime, after incidents like that, unfortunately, you know, then there’s, you know, that lack of money can domino effect, if you’re locked out of your bank for a while, where you just have the money taken out of your bank for a while, and it can’t be replaced. Think about how many people you know, that might not have a support system in place that can get them through that, which leads to you know, not being able to pay your groceries, or get your car fixed to get to work. It can have a real dangerous snowball effect.

 

Liz Craven  06:06

You know, that’s a great segue into our topic points that we want to talk about today. So let’s back up just a bit, and give us a good definition of cybercrime. What is that? Because I think that some people have a little misconception because it says cyber in front of it, that it’s only things that happen on the internet, or only certain types of fraud that we see online, can you give us a good overview of what that term cybercrime really means?

 

Mark Batchelor  06:37

Yeah, and I think most simply, it would be any crime that either affects a computer or device like your phone or home computer, or they use a device to perpetrate the crime, like if they do a denial of service attack on a phone system, or they use credit card scammers, skimmers, to take your money. So it’s, it’s when some sort of technology is used in the crime. And it’s broad based, I mean, you can get something as simple as those robo calls on your phone, which can sometimes be as simply just annoying, or it could be something far more serious, like a really complicated scam, or money being deducted from your bank without you knowing or your credit being hurt, or sometimes can lead to access of physical violence. If online stalking progresses, unchecked, and things get dangerous. And it’s so when people think about it, you know, they think maybe Well, I’m not on a computer all the time, maybe just at work. But think about your phone, I mean, how much stuff is on there, people put private messages on there, and their health information and their their bank accounts and personal, you know, identifying information. And now, things are connected in ways that we never thought about 10 years ago. I mean, you walk into some people’s houses and their refrigerators talking to the internet and their thermostats, talking to the internet, everything else. And those are little ways in, we saw, I guess, was it last year, that news clip of that little girl in her room and somebody hacked in through the ring camera? That’s terrifying, you know, you have to, it causes us to have to think more about how we’re arming ourselves, and what devices need to be armed. Because at night, you know, we’ll lock our door, and we’ll turn on the alarm. And that keeps us physically safe. But we need to do other things to our computers and our devices to make sure that that’s equally safe.

 

Liz Craven  08:33

Good point. What percentage of Americans would you say are victims of cyber crime?

 

Mark Batchelor  08:39

Well, one of the reasons we’re in this is because it’s it’s incredibly under counted. There’s an agency that part of the FBI called the IC3, which is the internet crime complaint center. And they take reports on all kinds of internet based crimes. And last year, they did about 400,000 complaints that they received this year with COVID and unemployment and everything that’s going to be blasted out of the water. But even with the 400,000, they estimate that that’s only a very small fraction of people. Because that’s people who, first they have to know what I see three is before I got this job, I didn’t know. Right have to know they were a victim of a crime. They had to choose to report which a lot of people don’t, and then they had to choose to report to the IC three. So that’s a very small pool. Gallup did a survey and they estimate it’s one in four Americans that are actually affected by cybercrime. Wow, that’s a huge number.

 

Liz Craven  09:38

That is a really huge number that’s bigger than I expected, frankly.

 

Mark Batchelor  09:43

Yeah. And frankly, now you know, there are all kinds of scams out there with the with the pandemic and with people working at home and people being unemployed and people shopping more online. There’s all different avenues now that people are looking to take advantage of so we can expect to see that number We’ll go up, unfortunately.

 

Liz Craven  10:02

So how does cybercrime affect older adults specifically? Are the numbers bigger than one in four? Or do we see similar statistics, there?

 

Mark Batchelor  10:12

Older adults are one of the most prevalent. I think the numbers are slightly higher for young adults, because probably the amount of time they spend online. But the dollar loss, the impact financially is by far greater for older adults. And that I think, is two reasons there are like really great parts about being an older adult that are attractive to scammers and fraudsters because, you know, they may be more likely to own property, you know, Florida, maybe a second property, a vacation property, they have longer credit lines, and probably better credit, they have maybe a nest egg put aside. So those are all very attractive things to somebody looking to take advantage of. And then unfortunately, the downside that some people experience as they get advanced age, maybe their memory starts to slip a little bit, maybe they’re not as sophisticated with some of the devices we use. Maybe they don’t have support systems around them, where they’re, they have somebody to help them with their finances, or to take care of, you know, other security needs. And so that’s another way that people are looking to take advantage, unfortunately.

 

Liz Craven  11:23

And I think that right now, seniors tend to be because of the way they were brought up. And because of their generation, and the way society was, then they tend to be a little more trusting and very in tune to what they consider to be authoritative figures. So if your doctor says, Do XYZ, you’re not probably going to seek a second opinion, unless you’re really encouraged to do so by your family. And I know that for the older adults in our family, it was that way, because they were so trusting of what they were being told.

 

Mark Batchelor  11:58

Yeah, and that’s, I think that’s a great point. And I think that’s where things like phone spoofing really play a big part. And that’s when somebody can make the phone number that appears on your caller ID look like it’s coming from anywhere. So it can look like it’s coming from your doctor’s office or from your bank, which you trust. And so at first glance, it’s, you just want to trust it, because they may have certain information about you that they’ve gleaned, whether from public records or from a hack or even getting it online. And so it’s always important to kind of slow down, those people are more likely to prey upon your trust, like you said, but also your fears. I think sometimes there are some scans called the grandparent scams, where they’ll say, you know, your grandson has been in an accident or has been arrested. And, you know, we need you to send money now. And something clicks in, you know, your your love of family is going to override your sense of wanting to slow down and say, Hey, wait a minute, you know, let me assess the situation. And so some people act a little more rationally than they should sometimes. And likewise, if they say, you know, we’re calling from the police and or the IRS and you owe us money, and you’re going to, you know, have a lien on your house or be arrested if you don’t pay this that I think plays on a fear not of being arrested, but of being older and saying Did I miss something?

 

Liz Craven  13:31

Right.

 

Mark Batchelor  13:32

You know, it might be sharpest attack, but everybody is prone to second guess themselves sometimes and say, am I starting to slip and so to overcompensate, they may pay the people just just to be safe.

 

Liz Craven  13:46

Oh, my goodness. What other things make us vulnerable to cybercrime?

 

Mark Batchelor  13:52

Well, there are a lot of vulnerabilities, unfortunately, a lot of hacks are human error, just people clicking with they shouldn’t have. So it’s a lot of just educating yourself on what a scam looks like, and what a red flag might look like. A lot of people are being more educated on suspicious emails, you know, don’t click on a suspicious link. Or don’t download something you’re not familiar with. But just like with the phone spoofing I talked about, they can make an address look like it’s coming from anywhere. So what sometimes people need to do is hover the cursor above the address and see if it really goes to that place. And be careful of that mindful. We’ve partnered with Google on a website called scam spider.org. Oh, and it and it, yeah. And it’s it’s aimed at those kinds of issues. And it it’s very user friendly. It’s very senior friendly and big font. It’s very colorful, it’s very easy to use. And they just focus on three simple rules for for identifying those types of things. The first being slow it down. Like I said, Sometimes a color or an email or will create a sense of urgency saying we need this money now. And they play in those instincts. So it is important to take that step back and say, wait a minute, what’s going on here? What’s the situation is, you know, I talked to my grandson this morning, and he, he’s fine. The second being spot check. So do your research and double check if the phone number looks like it came from your bank, say, you know what, I’ll call you back, and then call the number on the back of your credit card, which goes directly to the bank and just ask them say, I got a call about this, is this something I need to worry about? And more than likely, they’ll say, No, you, you know, you did the right thing, you shouldn’t have given them money. But if they did need something from you, they’ll let you know. And the third being stopped, when they called Stop, don’t send, you know, just hold off on sending that money until you do the first two steps. Because no reputable person or agency is going to ask for immediate payment. It’s just not done. And you know, agencies like the IRS, they’re not going to call you anyway, they’re going to send you a letter, and you’re not going to take payments and gift cards, if there’s anything you take away from, from our conversation today is gift cards are a big red flag. You know, if you read over some of the the scams and stories I hear, you would think the federal government is funded by gift cards, because they’re cuz the IRS is always asking for gift cards. And that’s just not the case. They did that. Because they’re not traceable. And they as soon as you give that number that’s going to be spent right away, they have it all set up, and you can’t get that money back. So hold off on your payments. And if they’re asking you for a gift card, you know, again, say I’m sorry, I’ll call you back and just hang up. And, you know, deal with the exact agency that called you, you know, the cops are never going to call and tell you, they’re going to arrest you, if you don’t pay them. If you did something wrong, they’re just going to come arrest you.

 

Liz Craven  17:08

So mind your P’s and Q’s. But I do love the advice about saying I’ve got to call you back. Because then you can do your own research call whoever it is, they’re claiming to be with the number that you know goes there. And then you can protect yourself that way. Because that’s we see a lot of that I know, I get a lot of text messages and phone calls and emails all the time. And it is obvious to me that they are not true because I keep a pretty close check on who I communicate with. But another thing that I noticed is in the emails and text messages, there are a lot of misspellings. You’re a lot of strange looking fonts, like not normal fonts.

 

Mark Batchelor  17:59

Yeah. And that’s a great point. Because I used to think that was just sloppy, like, oh, who, you know who fall for this, but they’re actually very sophisticated. Because if you and I look at that, and we delete it right away, they don’t want to spend any more time going after us. But if somebody is reading it quickly and doesn’t quite notice a misspelling or doesn’t care and, and engages, that’s the person they want. Because they made it that far. And they can continue trying to foster some sort of communication. It’s really, you know, surprising sometimes when, when something so simple. It’s actually very sophisticated.

 

Liz Craven  18:40

What would you say are the biggest ones that are being seen right now?

 

Mark Batchelor  18:45

Well, COVID is is changed the game on auto things. But on a typical day, one of the biggest things we see, particularly with seniors is online romance scams. You know, that’s if some you’re online, whether it’s Facebook, or a dating site, or any number of social media sites, and somebody, you know, approaches you with kind words and says they are attracted to you, and they want to get to know you, and they start a relationship. And then slowly they say, Well, I need some money, I’d love to come visit you but I’m stationed you know, overseas, or I work on an oil rig or I live across country and I’d love to come see you. But my daughter needs some surgery first, and I don’t have the money for that. And so they play on that. And sometimes they’ll have the person send you money. And then they’ll keep doing that and as far as they can get. And sometimes it can get very, very far. We’re talking to somebody, a colleague of mine who’s working with a victim who’s in for about $2 million dollars, or something like that, because, you know, the heart wants what the heart wants, I guess it overrides the brain especially now when so many people are in their homes, unable to sleep. Analyzing traditional ways, so they’re looking for those connections or looking for somebody to just pass time with. And that’s a very powerful emotion. And people prey on that. And before you get, you’re able to realize it, it’s very hard to drag yourself away from that. So the romance scams, unfortunately aren’t going away. We see now working at home, some more shopping scams because people are shopping from home. Right? with seniors, they also again, the phone scams are big with with seniors still, particularly those who retain their landlines,

 

Liz Craven  20:37

Right.

 

Mark Batchelor  20:39

Because they’re typically not as familiar, or they don’t use technology as frequently. So they’re a little bit more prone to it.

 

Liz Craven  20:47

Locally we’ve seen a lot of the ones that call and say that they are the electric company and demanding immediate payment over the phone.

 

Mark Batchelor  20:57

Yes, yes. And, and, you know, pay by phone is a valid way to pay a lot of utility companies. Just remember, do it the other way around. Again, it’s always okay to say I’ll call you back. And then you can call your utility company and make sure your account is clear, especially now, there’s a lot of ways a lot of people who are unable to pay their bills because of recent job loss and stuff. And that’s what we’re seeing. That’s how COVID has kind of changed the game. People are receiving offers for medical supplies, receiving offers for employment that don’t pan out, you know, anytime there’s misfortune, unfortunately, somebody is there to try to try to pick up that and we have to guard our seniors against them Garner our friends and neighbors against it, no matter how old they are.

 

Liz Craven  21:45

What should we do, if we become a victim of cybercrime?

 

Mark Batchelor  21:50

It’s not always easy to know and witnesses part of why CSN started in the first place. The first thing is first knowing that you are a victim, because sometimes if a store database was breached, and you were one of you know, 5 million people that had their identity stolen, you might not know for quite a while. But once you do know or or you’ve had engagement with a scammer, and you know, you’ve been taken, it’s very important to report it. Like I said, whether it’s to the IC three, which there’s under reporting, reporting it to someone does three things that lets it gives you a voice to actually have action taken and let somebody know that this happened to me, and I want to share this experience. But it also lets agencies like Michael enforcement agencies and legislative agencies know that this is a problem. So if there really not a lot of resources in your community to tackle these or go after these types of crimes, the more reports they see, the more they’ll take it seriously as a type of crime. And then the third, that’s, that’s how you’re going to get help is by reporting. So CSN mission is to make sure that people who want to do so find the right place to report because right now, there’s not just the IC three, you might have to report to Facebook, or to your bank, or to the FTC, or to consumer affairs, there are just so many places to go, that is overwhelming. And if somebody makes a call and gets put on hold, and has told us the wrong thing, they’re going to give a better frustration. So what we do, we have two avenues to help people right now, in Florida, we have fraud support.org, which is our national website for victims. And they can go on there and just, it’s very easy to use, they can say I’m an individual. And this is what happened to me. And for our older adults, we even have a separate section for them. Because they’re disproportionally affected. So we have three sub areas on our website, one for older adults and their caregivers, one for younger adults, and one for military families, because those three populations are targeted disproportionately. But once you go on there, and you just click what type of experience you had was, you know, were you hacked online? Did somebody steal your identity? Were you cyber bullied, etc. You get taken to the right page to help you do three things to find out where to report it. Find out how to recover from it and find out how to reinforce your system so it doesn’t happen again. So the right steps will be there the right phone numbers or web links will be there for you. So you don’t have to go through a maze trying to wonder what agency is the right one. And since we’re talking about Polk County here, residents in Polk County and about 15 other counties in Florida can dial 211 which is National number but with local services. So in Polk County if you dial 211 for any social service, whether you need those food banks we’re talking about or utility assistance. They’re there for you to talk you through that and get you the right help. Likewise, now we’ve trained those specialists to understand cybercrime. So if you call, you can report your cybercrime, they’ll talk you through the instance, they’ll help you make the report to the IC3, if necessary, they’ll tell you where else you might need to report if that’s applicable. And then if something did happen, that causes you personal loss, like I said, whether it’s depression, or food insecurity, or job loss, maybe, you know, maybe it caused you to lose your job to one one can help you sort through that and get the local resources that are available for that. So you get the national reporting, but you also get localized help. So I think that’s a good combination of good somebody.

 

Liz Craven  25:47

It really is, that’s a great collaboration. So we actually have listeners all over the country is that same to one one available everywhere, or just in certain areas

 

Mark Batchelor  25:58

at the 211 program is currently only in a few states, it’s statewide in New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island. And then parts of Michigan parts of West Michigan, and 15 counties here in Florida, including the Central Florida region, which a lot of your listeners are, are into. But if you go onto frog support.org, if you are in one of those catchment areas, you’ll see a pop up banner come and let you know that two on one is available to as an option to call. So rather than need to name you know, 30 counties, and boring, fraud support, fraud support will tell you which ones or which regions you live in, we’ll cover that.

 

Liz Craven  26:42

And just a note for our listeners, all of the things that we’re talking about today, all of those links and resources, those will all be available for you in the show notes and also in the blog post for Episode 28. And to find that you’re going to just go to Sage aging.us and look for the blog post for Episode 28. So, no worries, if you didn’t catch any of those. We’re gonna have those all covered for you. You know, while you were talking, you said something that caught my attention because we’ve really been talking about cybercrime in the sense of things that have financial ramifications. But you mentioned cyber bullying, and I think it’s important for us to put it out there that a cyber crime isn’t always about money.

 

Mark Batchelor  27:31

Yes, absolutely. When it comes to cyber bullying, or cyber stalking, that can have real consequences, especially if it’s spouse or intimate partner, stalking and abuse in those cases, you know, bypass to one one and go straight to 911 if necessary, because we want people to be safe. And then after that’s taken care of to one can help you with what you need. But safety is the most important thing. But But you’re right that can have real world consequences. Because even if, say a stalker doesn’t take that next step into the real world, and and create a dangerous situation, we see people traumatized from bullying from cyber bullying, you know, in the form, like I said of depression, sometimes feeling suicidal, sometimes lashing out in other ways and getting maybe hooked on substances and other drugs that they shouldn’t. So that’s cyberbullying. It’s a great example of how it’s not always financial. But it’s also there are that like I said, There Domino effects. I knew somebody who had their identity, not their identity stolen, but their security stolen so that the criminal had registered, not registered, filed taxes under their name. Yeah, so they got the refund if there was a refund coming to them, which, if you’ve ever had that happen to you or know somebody who did, it takes a very long time to straighten out and a lot of phone calls like paperwork. So that’s a headache. But what also happened was he was not able to file his son’s FASFA form for financial aid for a college. Oh boy, because he needed the tax forms for that year to do so. So that’s another unintended consequences. And there’s all kinds of like, crazy ways in which people adjacent to the victim are impacted without even knowing it or you know, that’s the thing about cybercrime. If you don’t know a lot about it, you’re very, not everybody. But a lot of people are very stats to say, Well, you know, that’s a sucker’s thing. You’ve got to be a fool to fall for something like that. It’s evolved for a lot. But But now I know some people just click on things that look legitimate. Other people don’t know they were a victim because it happened from a data breach somewhere and they didn’t have to do anything. Other people Have take good faith actions that end up having bad consequences. So it’s never a case of somebody just being foolish. Yeah, that’s, that’s a stigma, I also think helps keep people from reporting. And they shouldn’t feel that way. Because once they start hearing these stories, it could happen everybody. I mean, I’ve been a victim of cybercrime. I’ve had money taken out of my bank. And it does, it feels horrible, you feel violated, and you feel angry and embarrassed. But once you get through that, and start working through through correcting it, it feels better, and it feels a little bit more empowering. Once you start taking steps.

 

Liz Craven  30:40

It certainly makes you smarter. We were victims of identity theft. And so it has caused us to be very diligent just about keeping an eye on everything and teaching our kids how to keep an eye on everything, accounts and things like that, and what to look for. So it’s it’s important that we stay educated. So what about social media? Do you guys have some suggestions of places that people can find what’s currently happening? Like, is there a place where when a new type of scam pops up? Is there a place that people could go to stay in touch and be aware of that?

 

Mark Batchelor  31:17

There are there are all kinds of good places. I subscribe to bulletins by the FTC. If you go on to the FTC website, you can sign up for their bulletins. And I think if I’m remembering correctly, you can even do it by state. So you get state level notifications. But I get several emails a week from them telling me about new scams that are out there, you know, suspicious types of calls that are being reported? That’s great. Yeah. AARP has some great fraud resources, especially since we’re our main audience here is older adults, AARP, they have a scam tracking map on your website that you can put in an address, and it tells you, you know, what kind of scams they’re seeing reported in their area.

 

Liz Craven  32:08

Great.

 

Mark Batchelor  32:09

And then, you know, we keep a blog of ongoing scams and new things we’re seeing, we have one blog post specifically for COVID related things, because that’s, you know, land of its own now. But if you stick to you know, the reputable agencies like AARP, and FTC and Better Business Bureau, you’re going to get good information.

 

Liz Craven  32:33

Well, I’ll tell you what, you have delivered some fantastic information today, too. Is there anything that you can think of that we didn’t cover that we should?

 

Mark Batchelor  32:43

Maybe just a few tips on keeping yourself safe? Yes. Like you talked about social media, be careful what you share on social media, you know, it’s great to share your your daughter’s birthday pictures, or your high school reunion or your pictures of your new dog. But if you think about that, those are all security questions on websites. dog’s name, we’re juggling High School. So people use that’s called social engineering, and they find information about you. And that’s how those romance scammers are so effective. They say, Oh, we have this in common or, though they’ll throw something in a conversation that they know will click with you. Even if you don’t know that they’ve seen that information. It’s very tricky. We also suggest using malware scanners, you know, like the McAfee use and Malwarebytes. And things like that. VPN, I think are pretty important. They’re, they’re called virtual private networks, they’re a little harder for some people to get into because they’re not as as well known as like a virus scanner. But I keep one on my phone. And it just works like a button. It’s an app, you turn it on and off. And what it does is it hides your, your information, and could connect through a private network on public Wi Fi. So if you’re somewhere like an airport or hotel, and you go on to that public Wi Fi, if somebody is tapped in there with bad intent, they can see everything you’re doing. So if you go to your bank or your email, it’s all there. So I would if you turn on the VPN, though, you’re disguised, and they can’t see that. So that’s a good tip. And then thinking off the top of my head, just be careful on what you click, go to scam spotter.org and kind of get those tips we were talking about it shows you there’s a little quiz on there. That will give you some examples of situations. And you can say this is a scam. This is not a scam and you can share the results with other people. It’s it’s pretty neat.

 

Liz Craven  34:48

Those are great tips. Well, so my big three takeaways from today from this conversation number one, learn this phrase and use it. I’ll call you back That’s number one for me. Secondly, report, report report. If you have something that’s going on, please reach out, please report it. Please protect yourself. Don’t fall victim to that. Thirdly, stay educated. And thank you for all those resources that you shared with us. Because that is a great start for people to dig in and dig a little deeper on what we’ve talked about today, and find a way to protect themselves by staying educated and not only protecting themselves, but protecting the people around them too. And especially the reporting part, when you report something that has happened to you, you potentially save someone else from having that happen to them. So think about that. When you think about not reporting, it’s really important to report for your entire community. Well, Mark, thank you so much for being with me today. Unfortunately, there will never be a short supply of bad actors trying to take advantage of us. But I think our best defense against cybercrime and fraud is education. So I appreciate that you were here today and sharing some of that education with us. And we are going to dig in to the resources that you shared. And I’m so excited about what you and cyber support network are doing because we need you.

 

Mark Batchelor  36:23

Thanks. And I appreciate you sharing the information because we do need people to help us get information out about how to protect yourself and just what to look for. So I’m always available. If any of your listeners ever need some feedback or anything else, I am happy to help. Because whatever we can do to keep people from being victimized, I’m all in.

 

Liz Craven  36:47

That’s great. And remember that you can find Mark’s information, all of his contact information and links to the website, in the show notes and in the blog post that goes along with the show notes. Thank all of you for listening. I really do appreciate it that you take some time out of your day to spend with me each week. As you know, we publish a new episode every Tuesday morning, so you can always look in your playlist or simply go to Sageaging.us to find that if you found value in today’s conversation, I would love it if you click Subscribe now, and also share the stage aging podcast with a friend. I’d also love to connect with you on social media. You can find Sage ageing on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Follow us and like us so we can follow you back and say hello. Thanks for listening everyone. Make it a great day and we’ll talk real soon

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.