By Laurinda Rainey
Cold and flu season is around the corner and it’s time to place focus on what will keep you and your loved ones healthy. Many of us put tasks like getting flu and pneumonia shots and switching out wardrobes at the top of our list. However, in the current health climate, it’s just as important to consider all of the ways we can stay safe at home.
Digital tools, like apps on your phone and online resources, can help you to accomplish everyday tasks without having to venture out of your home—reducing stress and making life a little bit easier. Though for some, this may be the first time you’re using tech tools in this way—especially for things done most often in person—like banking, connecting with family, grocery shopping, etc.
Chase and AARP Foundation have collaborated to create resources that help adults improve their digital confidence, keeping them safe and alert to potential scams. Below you will find some tips.
Stay Warm & Digitize Your Errands
In today’s digital age, you can do errands like banking from the comfort of your couch. Through your bank’s app you can deposit checks using your phone’s camera, manage payments, check your accounts Most banking apps will also allow you to send money digitally to grandkids or to split the cost of a holiday presents – just make sure that you know and trust the person you are sending or receiving money from.
Other apps allow you to track nutrition, conduct remote appointments with doctors or medical staff, and order groceries, food or presents, so that you do not have to brace the harsh weather for everyday errands. We have created resources to help you can download apps in a snap and use technology to your advantage.
Complete Your Holiday Shopping Online
Check off everyone on your ‘nice list’ online without waiting in crowded malls or long lines. Not only is online shopping convenient, it’s safer than going in store during the pandemic. You can shop online through online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, or directly from your favorite retailer’s website
Most importantly, remember to stay safe when shopping online by verifying the online merchant and using a secure Wi-Fi network. Shop with sites you trust and if you are unsure about a website, do your research. The Better Business Bureau has an online directory and a scam tracker, to help you verify that businesses are legitimate and avoid purchasing from fake retail websites. Online shoppers should always look for website addresses starting with “https://” as they provide protection for communication and customer information, and look for the lock symbol that tells you the connection is secure.
Spot & Avoid Scams
Aside from online cons, the holidays are a prime time for scammers, who may pretend to be part of a charity or pose as a family member in need of money. Stay alert and don’t respond to any messages or calls that seem suspicious, urgent or that come from sources you don’t know.
‘Tis the season of giving so be sure to stay alert to charity scams, which scammers take advantage of donors’ goodwill for their own gain. According to AARP, these scammers are especially active during the holidays, as it is one of the biggest giving seasons of the year. You can use resources like BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar to verify charitable organizations, and view their ratings and reviews.
Scammers use elaborate stories to play on emotions and gain trust. The stories may vary, but the themes often stay the same. Be on guard for the other popular scams below:
- Grandparent: “Grandma, I’m in trouble— I need money fast.”
- Online Romance: “I want to meet you in person, but I can’t afford to travel. Can you send me money?”
- The Imposter: “I’m with the IRS, and you owe back taxes. If not paid immediately, a lawsuit will be filed against you.”
Using the tips above, you can stay safe, warm and in good spirits this holiday season. For any additional questions on digital confidence and fintech tools, visit https://fintech.aarpfoundation.org.
Laurinda Rainey is head of the Chase and AARP Foundation collaboration.
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