Common cyber threats: Four places where they can impact you

Email cyber threats

Email is an essential part of our online life. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to target ordinary citizens. A weak email account password can leave your personal information vulnerable, potentially compromising other accounts that use that same email address as a log-in. For example: If a cyber criminal gets access to your email, they could easily change your password for your social media accounts – particularly if you don’t have two-factor authentication turned on. Email is also a prime vehicle for phishing scams, which can trick you into opening attachments, clicking on suspicious links, or giving up personal information. If something seems suspicious, go with your instincts and delete anything that looks out of the ordinary.

Banking and financial cyber threats

Banking online has simplified our lives in so many ways. We can check our account balance, pay bills and control our investments. But what’s convenient, isn’t always what’s secure.

Banking websites have layers of security systems in place to protect your information. Which is good, but it forces cyber criminals to use other means to get to your personal financial information. For example: Email phishing. Cyber criminals create fake emails that look like ‘real’ emails from your bank or financial institution asking you to reply with personal information.

Malware is also a malicious tool that can be used, for instance, to capture your key strokes to steal your credit card information.

How can you protect yourself?

By practicing good cyber hygiene, even when it’s not the most convenient. Pro tip: don’t use public wifi to conduct online banking!

Read additional advice from the RCMP Cybercrime division.

“Explaining Alzheimer’s to Children and Teens.”

Most people are aware that Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult for families. But, are you aware of how especially troubling it can be for children and teens when a loved one is diagnosed?

When I was in seventh grade, my grandfather, Robert L. Landis, began showing signs of Alzheimer’s. In the middle of tenth grade, he passed away.

My grandfather was a father figure to me, but my family didn’t know how to talk about his illness and how it impacted us, and we didn’t seek the help of a therapist or medical professional who could have helped us navigate such an emotional and complex family matter. So what I did instead was what any troubled teenager would do: I lashed out. I got into arguments with my grandmother and I started hanging out with the wrong crowds and unsurprisingly, I got myself into a lot of trouble. Eventually, I forgot all about my grandfather and how he raised me.

5 ways to help kids cope

  • Talk, talk, talk. Be open and upfront when needed. Answer questions honestly with gentleness and empathy. If you refuse to discuss the disease, it creates a tense environment for all involved.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Know when to be quiet and let your child talk. Or not. Just knowing that they can vent to you in a safe environment with no judgement can be cathartic.
  • Let them know that the roller coaster of emotions they are experiencing is normal.
  • Double-down as a family. Continue doing activities together. The more normal the better, but also be willing to alter your get-togethers and create new activities if it allows the person with Alzheimer’s to participate.
  • Encourage journaling. Writing is a good outlet for feelings.

Our appreciation to Keck Medicine of USC for this valuable information. You can access their full article here;

Seniors’ Care Emergency Looms in B.C.

A seniors’ care crisis is looming in B.C. with hundreds of care-aide positions unfilled, particularly in the Interior where the shortage is most acute, care providers say.

Our thanks to the Vancouver Sun for this valuable information.

Read the full article at the link below. A seniors’ care crisis is looming in B.C. with hundreds of care-aide positions unfilled, particularly in the Interior where the shortage is most acute, care providers say.

Seniors’ care emergency looms in B.C. due to staff shortages

“It’s an emergency,” said Zander Cook, general manager of Haven Hill Care Centre in Penticton.

Haven Hill has unfilled vacancies for 12 care aides, but no applicants.

“It’s hard to get qualified people,” he said. “Even if we could pay more, there’s no one to pay.”

B.C.’s assessment and registration regime has slowed the flow of care workers from other provinces and countries to a trickle, according to the B.C. Care Providers Association (BCCPA).

About 2,800 more care aides will be needed to fill vacancies over the next five years and care providers are getting desperate, they say.

“It’s residents who suffer when we don’t have enough people, but also the workers wear down,” said Cook. “Our care manager just pulled a double shift and she’s exhausted.”

Seniors’ Guide to Safety

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for seniors, their family members, care-givers, friends, and anyone else who may find it useful. It is not meant to include everything but tries to answer some common concerns when it comes to seniors’ safety and security. Our goal is to raise awareness of seniors’ safety issues to improve their quality of life.

The information in this guide can also be used to help people and their loved ones discuss this topic to help recognize a potential crime situation and show how to reduce or remove the risk.

We hope that readers will find the information useful.”

Our appreciation to the RCMP. Read the complete article using the link at the end of the post.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Elder abuse
  3. Security in your home
  4. Away from home
  5. Safety on the street
  6. Safety in your vehicle
  7. Fraud and scams
  8. Alzheimer
  9. Power of Attorney
  10. Funeral planning
  11. Wills
  12. Programs and services
  13. Conclusion
  14. Contacts

What is elder abuse?

Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men.

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as, “Single or repeated acts, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”

In general, elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act of violence, mistreatment or neglect of older adults at the hands of any individuals in situations of power or trust, including: spouses, children, other family members, friends, caregivers and service providers. It can occur in either private residences or facilities.

Elder abuse can take many forms:

  • Neglect (by others).
  • Physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
  • Psychological and emotional abuse.
  • Financial exploitation (stealing or misusing an elderly person’s money or possessions).
  • Institutional abuse (overcrowded, substandard and/or unsanitary living environments).
  • Violation of rights (restricting liberty and privacy).
  • Spiritual abuse (restricted or denied religious and spiritual practices, customs or traditions).
  • Abandonment.

Elder abuse is never acceptable. If you or someone you know is being abused, report it to the police!

Indicators of elder abuse

While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs there could be a problem are:

  • A sudden change in behavior or appearance.
  • Unexplained injuries.
  • Unexplained changes in financial situation.
  • Conflicts between elder and caregiver.
  • Lack of basic care (like a clean environment and cleanliness).

Elderly woman walking on sidewalk using cane

Read the entire article on Seniors’ Safety RCMP

How to make a home safe for an aging parent.

“Job #1 when moving your aging parent or loved one into your home — or helping them age in place in their own home — is making it safe. Take a look at the home from the perspective of a person who uses a wheelchair or is a fall risk.”

You need a plan.

1. Call in a pro.

2. Modify. Adapted homes can be stylish, comfortable and safe for all ages. You may need:

  • zero-threshold entryways
  • wide doorways and halls
  • offset door hinges to make room for a wheelchair, walker or two people walking side by side
  • controls and switches that are reachable from a wheelchair or bed
  • a waterproof seat in the shower
  • a stair-climber
  • a raised toilet seat
  • a shower chair
  • a  frameless walk-in shower with a sloped floor instead of a step-over threshold
  • put textured no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower to lessen the chance of a fall
Thanks to AARP for the photo.

3. Make simple fixes. Every year, 1 in 4 adults over age 65 take a fall. To lessen the chances:

  • Remove throw rugs.
  • Use rubber-backed bathmats.
  • Move laundry facilities to the first floor.
  • Remove wheels on chairs.
  • Put nonskid treads on steps.
  • Keep steps clear.
  • Apply nonslip wax to floors.
  • If wandering is a worry, add monitors and sensor alarms.
  • Repair loose carpeting or raised areas of flooring.
  • Move small and low furniture.
  • Clear electric cords and clutter.
  • Add a hall railing.
  • Switch out standard doorknobs for lever handles.
  • Add a raised toilet and grab bars.
  • Remove locks from bedroom and bathroom doors so you can get in quickly, should your loved one fall.
  • Put a railing on the hall wall.
  • Swap out your recliner for one that raises and lowers — to make getting up easier.

4. Do your homework. Call your area agency on aging, Veterans Affairs office, or faith-based, civic or other community-based organizations for in-home care provider referrals. You should:

  • Run background and reference checks.
  • Monitor their work.  
  • Stop by at unexpected times.

5. Stay out of hot water. You may want to:

  • Invest in easily installed sink, tub and shower antiscalding devices that recognize when the water is too hot and stop the flow. Cost: about $40.
  • Option 2: Adjust the thermostat on your water heater so it stays at or under 120 degrees.

6. Light the way. As we age, we need more light. Install:

  • bright lights in hallways, closets, stairwells
  • extra lamps — consider models that turn on and off with a touch
  • outdoor motion sensor lights and path lights

7. Modify the kitchen. Put frequently used items on an easy-to-reach refrigerator shelf. Also:

  • Consider using automatic devices to turn off the stove and oven or installing an induction cooktop — which turns off when a pot is removed from the burner.
  • Hang a fire extinguisher within reach.

8. Check alarms.

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your loved one’s bedroom, and test existing alarms.

9. Stay connected. If your loved one is home alone:

  • Check in with Skype or another video-chat app.
  • Mount a motion-activated security camera in the home — with your loved one’s permission.

Read the entire American Association of Retired People AARP article here. We thank AARP for sharing this valuable information.

Photo credit Elien Dumon

Security Tips for Seniors from the Vancouver Police Department

Many seniors list “fear of crime” as one of their biggest concerns.

Statistics show, however, that for most crimes, seniors are the least victimized group. Also, much of the crime that is directed at seniors occurs while they are out of the home, such as break and entering.

However, when the crimes do occur, the consequences are often more severe for those at an advanced age. Many seniors live on a fixed income, so the loss of money or property is difficult to replace. Also as people get older their bodies take longer to recover from injury, so an attack on a senior generally has a much more serious outcome than a similar attack would on a younger counterpart. As such, steps should be taken to reduce the chance that you could become a victim of crime.

The related links on this website go into detail on how to best protect your home and yourself.

Home Invasion

For the past few years, a number of home invasion incidents have garnered a large amount of media attention. While these incidents are few in number, they tend to have severe consequences. If you are a victim of a home invasion, try to co-operate as much as possible, possessions can be replaced, they are not worth your health. Try to remember any distinguishing features of your assailants that you can tell the police about afterwards. Finally, call 9-1-1 as soon as it is safe to do so.

There are certain precautions you can take to limit the chance of you becoming a victim of home invasions.

  • keep your doors locked at all times – if there is a knock at the door, verify the identity of the person through a peephole there before you open it

  • make sure your door is made of solid wood or metal – a door is only as strong as its frame, so install a metal frame or have the current frame reinforced

  • place a security film or Plexiglas on the inside of the window, as it increases the difficulty in breaking the glass

  • keep a phone handy – if you have a cordless one, take it to the door with you when there is knock at the door

Purse Snatching

Purse snatching is one of the few crimes were seniors represent a greater proportion of those victimized. The best way to prevent becoming a target is to not carry a purse. However, for many people this is not practical. So if you are going to carry a purse here are some tips to both reduce the chance that you get targeted for this crime, and also to limit the damage if you are attacked.

  • walk with your head up high and with a sense of purpose, since attackers target those whom they consider to be easy prey

  • wearing the strap across your body makes it harder for an attacker to take the purse of off you, BUT if you are attacked it increases the likelihood of injury

  • carry keys and identifying documents in your pocket, so that if your purse is stolen the thieves can’t break into your house later on

  • do not carry large amounts of money if possible

Read the rest of the Vancouver Police Department’s advice for seniors.


Thanks to the VPD for the video and the above information.

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