Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe Online: A Guide for Older Americans Month

May 3, 2024

As adults juggling careers and caring for both our children and aging parents, many of us fall into the "sandwich generation." This Older Americans Month, let's prioritize online safety for our senior loved ones, who have become increasingly vulnerable to email scams and phishing attempts.

The Growing Threat of Email Scams and Phishing

Statistics paint a concerning picture. A 2023 AARP report estimates that financial scams cost older adults in the US billions of dollars annually. Phishing emails, a common type of scam, often appear legitimate, impersonating trusted sources like banks, government agencies, or even grandchildren. These deceptive messages can trick seniors into revealing personal information or sending money, causing significant financial losses and emotional distress.

Helping Our Parents Stay Safe: Practical Tips

While we can't be by their side every time they check their email, here are some practical steps you can take to empower your parents to protect themselves:

  • Open Communication: Start a conversation about online safety with your parents. Explain the prevalence of email scams and phishing attempts, and assure them it's okay to be cautious.
  • Spotting Red Flags Together: Review common signs of phishing emails with your parents. Do a practice session with them. Review their inbox with them looking for suspicious emails. Common things to look for include messages with poor grammar and misspelled words, misspelled sender addresses, generic greetings, offers that seem too good to be true, a sense of urgency, demands for payments, and requests for personal information.
  • Family Password Power: Create a unique "family password" – a secret word or phrase only you and your trusted family members know. If someone claiming to be a relative calls or emails for money or personal information, have them provide the family password for verification. If they don’t know the password, it could be a scam –advise your family member to hang up the phone and check in with a trusted loved one before sharing anything. 
  • Tech Tools for Security: Explore phone and computer security features with your parents. Many devices offer built-in spam filters and call-screening options. Consider installing reputable antivirus software and discuss the importance of keeping it updated.
  • Strong Passwords & Password Managers: Help your parents create strong, unique passwords for all their online accounts. Consider using a password manager to simplify this process and avoid password reuse.
  • Reliable Resources: Direct your parents to trustworthy resources for staying informed about online scams. The Family Online Safety Institute ( and the Federal Trade Commission ( continue to offer valuable information and tips.

Beyond Email: A Holistic Approach

Remember, online safety goes beyond email. Encourage your parents to be cautious when browsing websites, especially those with flashy pop-ups or unrealistic promises. Discuss the importance of not clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown attachments.

Empowering Our Loved Ones

By proactively discussing online safety and equipping your parents with these tools, you can empower them to navigate the digital world with more confidence. Remember, even the most tech-savvy seniors can be targeted by scams. Patience and open communication are key.

About Bulletproof Inbox

Bulletproof Inbox is a proud supporter of and celebrates the support and protection of all our older Americans and their families. We all have a role to play in keeping our loved ones safe online. For additional information on how Bulletproof Inbox can help you and your family achieve inbox safety, visit us at

Written by

Nathan Bellah

Nathan Bellah is an experienced marketing leader and entrepreneur based in Austin, TX. With over 18 years of experience in traditional and digital marketing strategy for D2C and B2B brands, he brings an innovative approach to the challenges associated with modern marketing.