How Do You Protect Old People from Phone Scammers?

Just after some tips as I'm running out of ideas. I look after a couple of oldies for their computers and from time to time they get phone scammers call them to 'fix their PC' etc and end up with bank account details.. I have told the victims not to talk to ANYONE who calls them about any computer 'problems' regardless of where they claim to be from. I have even gone as far as sticking a sign up in front of the victims PC to the same effect and told them to phone me if they have any concerns when scammers ring them. But they still keep getting scammed and handing over their banking details meaning they then have to go and change all their account numbers (if they are lucky not to lose any money) etc and feel pretty bad for the next couple of weeks. Until they forget about it and next scumbag calls them and they hand over their details AGAIN!

Have you guys got any tips I can use to stop this from happening as I'm running out of ideas. Blocking the scammers number is no good as they change all the time.



  • Put all their known contacts in to the phones contact list.

    If a private or unknown number appears let it go to message bank. If they leave a valid message - its important. If they don't leave a message then ignore it.

  • I've told them not to talk to anyone from any company who cold calls them on the phone. Telstra, NBN, their bank, ATO, etc etc will NEVER ever call them up about something and ask for all your details.

  • Telstra Call Guardian.

    • Thanks will look into it. Does that work on mobile phones?

      • No but it should be easy to create a whitelist of #'s on a mobile and ignore all others.

        • Yeah I'll have a further chat to them on that score. I've been nagging them about not talking to strangers who call them but maybe I should try getting them to just not answer unknown numbers period.

  • Well if they are not going to follow your instructions they are in for a fall

    • Yeah I know, and they do (forget my advice when they are being frustrated and scared by a scammer) but due to their age it's a bit hard watching them get caught a couple of time a year. Most times I can sort it out for them but it still puts them in a highly stressed frame of mind, especially once they are into their eighties.

  • Financial power of attorney. They're limited to necessary funds and to contact for bigger withdrawals.

    • If they have reached an age where they can’t reliably look after their money, as this is showing, you need to step in.
      They can still have a debit card (with a transaction lock!) and cash for shopping, but somebody else needs to manage the money.

      My parents are that age, and I know plenty of people in that age group, and they aren’t getting scammed multiple times. Something is wrong.

      • I agree, it is not normal for people to be scammed multiple times like this. It sounds like they need a bit of extra care in this area.

      • Yeah I might have a word to their kids. (Mind you their kids are in their 50's :) )

        • i'm in that age group. Around 60% of us are scammer savvy.

          The oldies need 2 accounts. One they know about with a little money and another they don't know.

  • What banking details are they giving out? Perhaps there's something on the banking side of things that you could set up to make it harder for scammers.

  • No one suggesting to change their numbers? Mobile and landline

    • Nah, they don;t have a landline anymore and when you're 85 changing a phone number/email address is like losing a leg. :)

  • Open up a separate account for them and tell them to use that, have regular deposits of small amounts to go in there. Even if given to scammers it won't be the all their money.

  • If iPhones then perhaps silence unknown callers?

  • You might want to look at this as a symptom rather than the problem. They may need extra care and help in other areas. Talk to their family or doctor and them about maybe getting assessed for extra help.

  • Install Linux

  • It might be an invasion of privacy but you could apply a "parental" control depending on the router you are using. My Netgear Nighthawk has Parental controls on this. I might also be concerned on what sites they are entering as they may be unintended visits to sites that are not secure.

    For the iPhone issues, do the residents have a phone book that they use for their contacts? Or is it saved to those iPhones? Blocking Private Numbers etc, but scammers have a large amount of numbers they can use so trying to block them all is a task in themselves. Esp when the residents do not listen to your warnings and you telling them directly… nothing much u can do about that. Perhaps get a dumb phone and every so often switch SIMs or get fresh mobile numbers if it gets really bad.

  • Old people don't trust online banking yet they like to hand over their credit card details over the phone. Just tell them don't 🤷

  • Take their phones away from them, if they don’t behave :)

    Despite how much you want to help, sometimes you just can’t help the gullible, no matter how much you teach/educate them.

  • Show them some of the videos on Youtube exposing scammers. If they can visualise it and see how things work, it may help them understand what is happening. Jim Browning does some great work.

    However if they're claiming to "fix their PC" im guessing the old couple are providing the scammers remote access to their PC, so they can display the usual windows events, processes, netstat etc to convince them they have an issue. So how are they getting in? TeamViewer is a common tool, but there are many remote desktop tools out there. Could you install a decent firewall and specifically block all this?

  • If they still had a landline, I would suggest the DoNotCall register, and getting a new unlisted number, then add their family and friends to the phones' address book, which helps with identifying calls — I note you mention they no longer have one, (that said landlines are largely useless for people with a mobile phone they are able to use).

    Mobile phones, both Android and iOS have many call screening apps. One good, free example is Hiya, which blocks all known spam calls, and has an option to screen (send to voicemail) any silent numbers. Any suspect numbers are flagged as 'SUSPICIOUS', so they will known to be on their guard when receiving such calls.

    Also, you can tell them to click on 'Report' for any scam callers that try to contact them, which adds to the apps database of spam/scam calls.

  • good on you for trying to protect them.

    it's really up to their kids/ loved ones to step in and help. it's really hard teaching people, especially the elderly, about scammers.

    It took a few years but my mum finally understands and is really awesome now. never clicks on links in random text messages and tells me about any calls she gets.

    if they can't be trusted/ forget, the kids should look to set up two bank accounts. one where there's major savings kept and can put a lock on transfers, and then an account for day to day spending that will remain "at risk" but at least gives them independence.

    or/and set up 2 factor authentication with the kids mobile number for text authorisation.

  • I am fortunate my mum don't answer phone number she do not recognise and even if she does she just tells them she does not speak English.

    I got a scam call once saying Telstra will disconnect my internet. I don't use Telstra so I know it's a scam and I simply wasted his time and shouted him and calling him a thief, Fk him for stealing which he ended up saying "Fk you too" and hang up. He was lucky he hang up early before I bitch about Cow God and Karma is going to hunt his family.

    I was in a foul mood and needed release, the scammer called at that right time. Yes, I can be nasty.