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i4k20c

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 10, 2005
867
122
hello,

i am looking into various options for my elderly parent who has fallen victim to scams a few times. Their most recent was a text message that asked them to download software on their pc and grab their account information.

Does anyone know if iOS has a way to protect elders from scams like this? Can i have only people on an "allowed list" send messages and phone calls to my parent? Can i set them up in a family account so if they download an app, it asks me permission to install - like a child account but for an adult?

curious if anyone else has run into these kinds of things and if you have anything set up to protect elderly loved ones?
 

jedimasterkyle

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2014
436
645
Idaho
Does anyone know if iOS has a way to protect elders from scams like this? Can i have only people on an "allowed list" send messages and phone calls to my parent?
You could try call screening and blocking apps. I use Hiya and have had pretty good luck with it. It blocks any numbers that aren't in my contacts list and you can flag any spam/spoofing/ numbers as such and it gets updated within the Hiya database and shared with the rest of it's users. Is it perfect? No, but I dont think you'll find an iron clad app or solution that is perfect at blocking every single call or text message your parent receives. And not to sound...insensitive...but some (if not a lot) of this comes down to just basic common sense.

There is also this solution as well from Apple.

Can i set them up in a family account so if they download an app, it asks me permission to install - like a child account but for an adult?
Yes, that is something that iOS can do natively. Here is a support article from Apple

curious if anyone else has run into these kinds of things and if you have anything set up to protect elderly loved ones?
My in-laws are very computer illiterate and I've had to basically lock down their entire network to ensure that they dont do something they're not supposed to. I'm the only admin on their network and no matter how many times I tell them, they refuse to accept that computers dont run for 30 years like their cars do...or did.

You could also try using app and website blocking services like Freedom. I use it to limit my social media usage but it could also be used to limit your parent from accessing the app store at specific times of the day OR you set it up to where they only have access to specific apps. This can also be done from iOS but Screen Time is very hit and miss in terms of reliability so that's why I recommend a third party app.
 
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i4k20c

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 10, 2005
867
122
You could try call screening and blocking apps. I use Hiya and have had pretty good luck with it. It blocks any numbers that aren't in my contacts list and you can flag any spam/spoofing/ numbers as such and it gets updated within the Hiya database and shared with the rest of it's users. Is it perfect? No, but I dont think you'll find an iron clad app or solution that is perfect at blocking every single call or text message your parent receives. And not to sound...insensitive...but some (if not a lot) of this comes down to just basic common sense.

There is also this solution as well from Apple.


Yes, that is something that iOS can do natively. Here is a support article from Apple


My in-laws are very computer illiterate and I've had to basically lock down their entire network to ensure that they dont do something they're not supposed to. I'm the only admin on their network and no matter how many times I tell them, they refuse to accept that computers dont run for 30 years like their cars do...or did.

You could also try using app and website blocking services like Freedom. I use it to limit my social media usage but it could also be used to limit your parent from accessing the app store at specific times of the day OR you set it up to where they only have access to specific apps. This can also be done from iOS but Screen Time is very hit and miss in terms of reliability so that's why I recommend a third party app.

absolutely, the problem is what do you do when common sense isn't cutting it anymore?

i can definitely try hiya. i wish apple's solution was more of a "block everything" except callers on this whitelist type of feature.

i also read the support article, but unless im mistaken, the app purchase review is only valid for someone who is under 18 right? it looks like for an adult, it isn't possible unless i am mistaken.

how do you lock down their entire network? what does that entail?

i've never heard of freedom, so will look into that as well, thank you!
 

jedimasterkyle

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2014
436
645
Idaho
absolutely, the problem is what do you do when common sense isn't cutting it anymore?

i can definitely try hiya. i wish apple's solution was more of a "block everything" except callers on this whitelist type of feature.

i also read the support article, but unless im mistaken, the app purchase review is only valid for someone who is under 18 right? it looks like for an adult, it isn't possible unless i am mistaken.

how do you lock down their entire network? what does that entail?

i've never heard of freedom, so will look into that as well, thank you!
Apple does have a whitelist of contacts. The problem is that because SMS is used globally, every single phone number can be messaged with some sort of spam and because spoofing is on the rise, it's getting harder to determine what are legit messages/calls and which ones are fake.

In regard to the purchase review, I think you would have to designate your parent as a "child" in order to set that up. But at the same time, you could just block the app store with Freedom or Screen Time. For instance, using screen time, I give myself 5 minutes of using the facebook app every day. When that time expires and I want to use it for longer, it asks for a code that only my wife knows. That's one of the ways I limit myself from being sucked into it so much. It's not perfect but it does the job. You might have to do something similar with your parents phone and the app store. Just block the app entirely and if they want to download something, you need to enter a code that only you know.

As for locking down my in-laws network, I've blocked certain domains and types of websites but their router supports this. Not all of them do and since I'm the only admin, only I can give out the wifi password. They dont understand what wifi is or what website blocking is so I limit them to the absolute bare minimum when it comes to internet access because they've proven that they will visit a site they shouldn't be and get hacked. I've seen it happen before and it will happen again because they just dont understand what they are doing. To me, it's the equivalent of not giving a teenager car keys. They might say they wont be stupid but chances are, they'll do something stupid.

Ultimately, you'll have to find the right balance between usability and security. I get that you dont want your parent to be hacked, spoofed or taken advantage of. Totally reasonable to want to defend against that. But the reality is that unless they leave their phone off all of the time, they're bound to be a victim at some point or another. It's unfortunate but that's just how the internet works these days. I have close to 10 years of free credit reporting and monitoring thanks to the amount of times my accounts have been compromised with the various corporate hacks. No matter how many times a company or organization says "Your information is secure with us", there is someone out there to prove that wrong and every day people are the unwilling victims of cybercrimes and there's not a lot that can stop it. Sure, there are steps to prevent it but for the older generations, using the same password of "12345" on ALL of their accounts is the easiest thing to do because they just dont understand how complex, messy and sometimes, evil, the internet can be.
 
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ZebraDude

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2014
1,391
816
Naperville, IL
My 85 year old mother does not understand smart phones or computers. She was getting 8 to 12 fraud calls a day on her wireline phone. It was cheeper to go with porting over her wireline number to a iPhone SE 2022 and then I created a supervisory profile with iMazing and locked down the iPhone in single app mode (the dialer app) after I had loaded a white list of approved callers I switched on the silence unknown callers and then activated the profile.

Mom just uses it as her wireless handset.
 
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