A Great Infographic on Scams: Print, Put Together & Post

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Click to view the entire infographic from NeoMam Studios.

Keeping ahead of scams — a perplexing and frustrating problem.

Almost every day at my house the phone rings with a suspicious caller. It’s the same at my parents home. It used to be that people needed to worry about door-to-door and telephone scams, but now there are many more. We need to caution our aging parents (and remind ourselves) about scams that involve  junk email, stolen identity, online shopping, false investment invitations and even online dating!

How do we stay alert to all of the possibilities, and more importantly, how do we assure ourselves that our aging parents remember all of the possibilities? The good news is, I’ve been introduced to a great graphic that can help to educate our aging parents and us as well.

The folks at NeoMam Studios in the United Kingdom have created a terrific infographic that depicts the various types of scams that prey on older individuals. The great thing about this infographic is that it’s colorful and not scary — an excellent portrayal of the problems.    Continue reading

Help Elders Understand More: A History of the Way the Web Works

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

My parents and other elders often ask me questions about the Web — the way it works, how it really got started, how it’s evolved, and how why it changes so much.

I have the answers to many of these questions and willingly take the time to explain, but often wish I could hand the questioners something to read. Each of my  answers teaches an individual one time. By providing an article or other resource that can be consulted again and again and is eminently readable, I offer a person the opportunity to learn or relearn over and over.

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Older Entrepreneurs Start More Successful Businesses Than Younger Ones.

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Check out this interesting article, To Save the Economy, Teach Grandma to Code, posted at the PBS News Hour website. Appearing on the Making Sen$e section of the site, the article by Vivek Wadhwa, points out that most businesses in the United States are aging and that one of the biggest and underused resources these businesses have is older workers. How, he wonders, can we use older workers more effectively and help them learn new skills? Perhaps, he suggests, we should consider teaching older workers and aging adults to code (to use a programming language).

Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic at schools including Stanford, Duke, and Emory, writes that to be successful, people who start new businesses need to be able to see the big picture, understand the changing world, and demonstrate how to solve bigger problems. Older individuals already possess the vision to come up with solutions that solve significant problems if they learned how to code — rather than merely inventing yet another social media platform.

It is not that difficult to teach older workers about entrepreneurship and coding and to encourage them to use their seasoned experiences to create new businesses or improve older ones. Wadhwa points out, “We must first get over the myth that older workers can’t innovate.”

Best Quotes From This Piece            Continue reading

Gazing at Aging Through the Reunion Prism

When I attended my first school reunion with a family member, just a few years after graduating from college, the people attending their 35th, 45th and 50th reunions seemed really old. At a Saturday luncheon table near the back of an old-fashioned field house, we watched and clapped, somewhat wondrously, as the different classes stood to be recognized, beginning with a man attending his 70th reunion who moved around slowly with a walker.

The old observatory at the school — now a National Landmark.

The old observatory at the school — now a National Landmark.

Gradually the master of ceremonies worked his way from the front to the back of the room – 65th, 60th, 55th, 50th, 45th. It wasn’t until we reached the class attending its 30th reunion that the alumni started to look, well … not old. It took half-an-hour to reach our tables filled with raucous young men who along with wives and partners, had barely finished with graduate school.

Looking back, I realize that luncheon offered me my first concrete understanding of the way we age — the way I age, actually. We all sat there observing benchmarks — characteristics that define what happens to human beings over 10, 20, or 30 years.

And sure enough, this weekend, here I am in Ohio attending a 50th reunion, though not mine. This time I’m sitting at a table that looks toward the back of the room — and at some fairly raucous young people. Did I mention that not one of the people at our 50-year tables looks old?

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Some Retirees Are Starting Businesses

Those of us edging closer to retirement may be in for some surprises. We may discover that  some of our friends and colleagues are thinking less about taking it easy in their later years and more about  using the time to start a business.

starting businessesA Bloomberg Personal Finance article, Older Americans Shun Retirement at 65 for Risky Startups, by Steve Matthews, describes how many boomers are opting to become entrepreneurs, turning their ideas into companies, and working hard to make their business grow. Quoting from a report by the Kauffman Foundation Matthews notes that, “People from 55 to 64 started 23.4 percent of the [new] companies in 2012.” The Kauffman Foundation offers support and information to people who are seeking become more independent by educational achievement and entrepreneurial activities. (Kauffman mission).

Most Interesting Information from the Article            Continue reading

A New Twist With Personal Safety Device Scams and Seniors

Adult children should be sure that their parents understand the clever strategies that telephone scammers use as they encourage elders to part with credit card information. Over the past several days I’ve received two phone calls on my home landline, aiming to convince me that I ordered a personal safety device and that it was ready for delivery. The caller laughed when I said I did not make the order, pointing out that I probably forgot.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

The best line in the conversation — “Oh, from time-to-time we all forget that we ordered something.”

Taking advantage of memory issues is a new twist, for me anyway. The scammer tries to convince people — in this case me — that they purchased a device for safety reasons, but … somehow I must have forgotten about it. I assume a fair number of people do not want to admit that they forget things and thereby make themselves easy marks for a caller who takes advantage of the anxiety about memory lapses.

I wrote a post about a similar phone scam, Call About Personal Safety Devices, in January 2013.

What is significant about my most recent calls was how refined the pitch has become. The caller, a real person, asked me when I wanted my personal safety device delivered. I played along, acting like I did not remember making the order, and worked hard to sound doubtful. The scammer zeroed in, friendly but with laser-like precision, pointing out that I must have forgotten and that the personal safety device was ready to deliver AS SOON AS I PAID WITH MY CREDIT CARD.

Every time I expressed doubt, he had another warm and friendly explanation. When we finally parted ways, I thought I was finished with him but he called back today, reminding me of our conversation and asking me if I remembered the order that I had made.

Forewarned is forearmed.