Staying Connected, Safely: Tips and Resources for Seniors Citizens While in Self-isolation

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By Alice Rodriguez, Financial Health Executive with JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

These past few months, consumers have relied on technology to complete everyday tasks more than ever. For many, it marked their first time using apps for grocery shopping, banking, and even for doctor and wellness appointments. For smartphone users over 50 in particular, using these resources was likely a new experience. Despite using their devices on a daily basis, nearly two-thirds of smartphone users over 50 reported in 2019 that they had not used their device for banking or financial transactions in the previous three months.  

To help older adults become more confident in using digital tools and to brush up on how-to tips for depositing checks, preventing fraud or downloading apps, there are a variety of online resources like these from AARP Foundation in collaboration with Chase. The site includes an online workshop on how to manage finances virtually, and tips on how to use social media and digital tools to stay connected with loved ones. 

Technology can lessen the impact of isolation by offering continued access to services, sources of information and human connection. That said, it is important to take a safety-first approach when completing your day-to-day tasks online in order to keep you and your information safe, avoid scams and streamline your tasks. Below are four tips to help you stay connected, safely.

Use technology to your advantage

As social distancing practices continue to evolve, having the ability to manage your resources from your phone is more relevant than ever so that you can do everyday tasks, like banking, virtually. Through your bank’s app you can deposit checks using your phone’s camera, manage payments, check your accounts and even pay people you trust. 

One of the most valuable financial technology resources during this time, is the ability to deposit checks remotely from home. If you’ve always deposited paper checks at the bank, it may take some time to get used to the process of digital banking, but soon, you’ll come to appreciate how hassle-free and easy it is to deposit checks. In many banking apps, it can be as simple as taking a photo of both sides of the check and you will see it deposit instantly.

Other apps and online services allow you to track nutrition, conduct remote appointments with doctors or medical staff, get medications delivered and video conference with groups you participate in. SCAN, for example, offers resources to help with contactless pharmacy delivery services, as well as community services to help seniors find food, supplies and transportation. 

Be alert to scams and fraud 

Many experts, including researchers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), say we simply don’t know exactly how large or widespread the problem of financial fraud is—mainly because these transgressions largely go unreported.

Scammers take advantage of uncertainty to prey on virus-related concerns. Stay alert and don’t respond to any messages or calls that seem suspicious or that come from sources you don’t know. Remember financial institutions never ask for confidential information—such as your name, password, PIN or other account information—if they reach out to you.  Furthermore, watch out for intimidation, as scams often try to create a feeling of urgency or alarm, by threatening to close or suspend your account if you don’t take immediate action.

Automate what you can

Keep continuity by automating payments, setting up direct deposit, activating transaction alerts for deposits or withdrawals, setting up regular grocery deliveries, etc. 

In the banking space, transaction alerts help you to keep watch over your accounts. For example, you can set an alert to receive a notification every time there is a withdrawal made from your checking or savings account, or whenever a purchase is made using your credit or debit card. By using alerts, you can better manage your money, keep track of your spending, help avoid late charges or overdraft fees, and more quickly spot financial fraud. 

Stay socially connected, safely

More than ever, digital social tools can help people stay connected with their friends and loved ones through phone, text or video chat. As a reminder, always protect your online privacy, only connect virtually with people you know in real life, and use secure Wi-Fi connections. 

As online tools may be new to many people, we’re proud to share these resources to make it easier for everyone to gain confidence in the digital space. We know the difference that it can make when you can manage your resources and connect with loved ones virtually while self-isolation continues to be encouraged. After all, social distancing does not have to mean social disconnecting.

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