Seniors and Passwords – Help Your Aging Parent Stay Safe Online

This gets tricky. Are you familiar with the term Digital Native? These are people born at a time when the World Wide Web was already a part of our daily life. Typically, our parent’s grandchildren.

Most folks reading this article are not digital natives. You likely surfed the digital wave as it formed and continue to ride it today. You likely absorbed or were taught the technology and online skills that you currently have.

After repetitive, daily computer and smart phone use in your personal and professional lives, much about navigating the digital world come as easily as breathing. And, like breathing, you don’t have to THINK about it!


Our Parents Don’t Know What We Know

Why does this matter? Well, since our parents are adults like us, we can easily forget that they do NOT have the knowledge, exposure and repetitive use of technology that we have. We can easily take for granted what we know and mistakenly expect that our parents have same capacity to navigate the digital world.

Some things, like our parent’s ability to use a smart phone or iPad, can really remind us that tech gap is there. However, those of us lucky enough to have parents who have kept up with tech, would be wise to remember this… just because someone can use a device, does not mean they know what you know!


Things we Presume our Parents Know – But They Often Don’t

The list of tech-related things we know, that our parents don’t know, is LONG. If your parents are still learning, this list serves as a place to START the conversation and help educate them on things we full-on tech users just do as a matter of course. Our PARENTS may not have learned these things. By no means is this a complete list. We have internalized so many bits of critical information through the years. At least this gives your folks a fighting chance out there in DIGI-WORLD!


9 Things Every Senior MUST Know – Teach Your Parents Well

  1. If it’s personal – don’t give it out or use in a password. Words or numbers that have ANYTHING to do with their life should NEVER be used when creating a password.
  2. NEVER click a link in an email from someone you don’t know. Just don’t ever do it!
  3. Presume it is a scam! Scammers have no scruples. Whether online or over the phone, sophisticated cons EASILY make you think they’re from a reputable company, a lawyer’s office, or the IRS.
  4. Assume there is a skimmer device! Any time you use your ATM or Credit Card at the pump at a gas station or at an ATM machine (even one at your bank), you must first give a firm tug on the card reader BEFORE inserting your card, to make sure there is not a skimmer device attached.
  5. Best Practices for Strong Password have changed! To create a STRONG password by today’s standards, string together a very random list of odd, unrelated words. Something like this: pine grange hair gnome weaver clam turmeric
  6. If someone calls and asks for your name – say NO! Never say your name over the phone to a stranger. A person saying their name can be recorded and used by scammers as “voice verification” in perpetrating sophisticated identity theft.
  7. Shred. Shred. Shred. Shred ALL old or unwanted financial docs, account statements, check stubs, voided checks, and unused, preprinted deposit slips. Things like old credit cards, hard drives, CD/DVDs and prescription bottles can also be shredded by many professional services – by the box and in real time as you watch.
  8. Dedicate ONE credit card and email address for online shopping and bill payment. Only one!
  9. When in doubt – check it out! Encourage your folks to reach out for help and ask questions.


Have Questions?
If You Live in the Area – We Can Help

Brown Law Offices is based in Los Gatos, CA – Diane Brown, ESQ. We work with local clients and navigate the basic to the most complex cases to protect, care, and secure the financial, emotional, and physical well-being of your loved ones. As a Trust and Estate Attorney specializing in Elder Law we have seen it all.

Contact us for an appointment and make sure to PRINT this certificate for a Free 30 Minute Legal Consultation.


estate_planning_living_trust_preparation_losgatos_Diane M. Brown, Esq.
Working every day to keep my clients out of court!
It’s your money… Let’s keep it that way!
Call 408.376.2755



This blog contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply