The dark side of the ElderTech force

porsche-911-carrera-convertible-red

For the most part, it’s exciting that older folks are adopting new technologies.  But along with all the fun stuff, there has to be a measure – a good, large measure – of caution.  We all know there are scumbags out there who troll the Internet for people’s personal information to make a dishonest buck.

I can’t tell you how often AGMA has been contacted by a Nigerian prince or a long lost, distant “relative” offering to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams.  Sweet!  Maybe I can buy that Porsche I’ve always wanted.

TANSTAAFL.

And sometimes the tolls get help from our alma maters, Target, Home Depot and the U.S. Government .  Yes, we’ve had our personal data compromised (code word for stolen) from all four of them.  Lucky us.  Names, birth dates, social security numbers – the whole shebang.  I’m just waiting to find out that I’ve bought that cute little red Porsche 911 convertible in Las Vegas or my 401K has been reinvested.  With a Nigerian prince.

The worst of the worst – the bottom dwellers in the criminal gene pool – prey on the truly elderly who might not be in total possession of their ability to reason and reflect. Like my mother-in-law.

My 81 year old MIL thinks she is doing just fine.  A two week trip to Ireland in 2013 with her convinced me she really isn’t.  I went as a traveling companion, not by choice, but to help her keep her safe and “navigate” a horrible trip that her travel agent put together for her that involved all bus and train travel.  Huh?  In the end, I was glad I went – sort of – because there was no way she could have navigated it all safely by herself.

Her solo trip to Rome this past February when she stayed in her hotel for the ENTIRE week is proof of the pudding.  She said she didn’t go out because it rained all week.  No Coliseum, no Sistine Chapel, no Spanish Steps, no Roman Forum.  You can read my post from February leading up to that a little adventure.  My head is still hurting.

She’s in the beginning stages of dementia.  But she thinks she is doing just fine.  Just. Fine.

This is not a good place to be especially since Facebook is her BFF.  Despite repeated warnings from us not to friend people she doesn’t know, she has many “friends” who aren’t real people.  The “men” – all claiming to be in their 50‘s and 60‘s – flirt with her.  She’s a lonely widow who thinks she’s still one hot mama, so she flirts back.  Seriously.  They ask for money.  And God know what else.

Last fall she sent $8000 to one of her “friends”, a “millionaire” who needed a bridge loan to buy an oil well drill bit until his bank can though with financing.  My MIL lives on a fixed income.  She’s still waiting for her dividend check.

OMG… Shoot me now!

She posts information and pictures that would allow the scumbags to find her house if they wanted to track her down.  She lives alone.  We’re pretty worried about her especially since she lives 1700 miles away.

When, once again, my hub gave her the “not everybody on Facebook is what they appear to be so don’t friend anybody you don’t know” talks, and offered to help her de-friend the scumbags, she threatened to de-friend us!  She said we were interfering with the “joy of her Facebook experience.”  I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up!

And, unfortunately, there’s is absolutely nothing we can do about any of it until she goes broke or gets in an accident or worse.  We’re really praying it’s not the worse.

So enjoy technology, and help your peers and parents enjoy all it has to offer.  But, just like we warn our little ones when they are young, teach them to be very wary of strangers.  And show them how to set their security settings tighter than one of Kim Kardashian’s pre-pregnancy dresses.

I sure hope my AGMA-alter enjoys driving my Porsche in the Nevada desert.  I bet it’s a blast!

I can almost feel the wind blowing in my hair.