The phone scam article struck a chord when I read it, and it reminded me of the vulnerability of those we hold dear and got me to thinking of how we can protect them from those that prey on the innocent and trusting.
When my daughter was little, we talked about strangers and how they might try to trick her by saying that they had talked to me or that I had sent them.
To foil this ploy, we came up with a pass phrase that anyone who tried to use my authority would have to say it to prove the message or instructions were from me.
Even if she knew the person and thought they were safe, like a friend of the family, if they didn’t know the pass phrase, then I didn’t send them.
So I thought, why couldn’t this same idea be used for parents and their adult children or grandchildren too? It can be something simple. Most families have a story of a favourite family pet that always did something strange. We had a doberman pinscher that would hide under the dining room table during a thunderstorm, so the phrase could b,e “Tasha is afraid of thunder.”
Or maybe if there was a favourite place to picnic in the summer, the phrase could be, “We always picnic at Paddlewheel Park.” It would need to be something relevant to the family, preferably from the past, so it couldn’t be gleaned from social media.
In that light, this should be discussed face to face or on a land line, not via e-mail, text, cell phone, Facebook or any other form of communication that is not secure.
Our family has already talked this over and adopted a pass phrase.
So if one day, one of us gets a distress call from a member of the family, if the person calling doesn’t know the family pass phrase, then they aren’t who they say they are.