Trudy Technology

Dear Trudy Technology,

My children pitched in a bought me a computer for my 70th birthday. They set it up for me and showed me the basics and how to use it to video call my grandkids, which I love, but I don’t know what else to do with the thing. It takes up a lot of space and I’m embarrassed to ask my kids what to do with it. Can you give me any suggestions?


Overwhelmed in Oak Harbor

Dear Overwhelmed,

Congratulations on your new computer! What a thoughtful gift to receive. Once you know computer basics, the possibilities are endless! The next step is to explore the internet. Visit social media sites like Facebook to stay connected to family and friends in a new way, or even reconnect with friends you haven’t heard from in years. Use your computer to visit news sites and read stories from around the world. Watch videos or stream your favorite television shows, or even attend virtual events without leaving the comfort of your home. You can also visit Island Senior Resources’ Virtual Community Page at to find out about other online opportunities, and to find links to sites like Senior Planet that provide technology classes.

The most important thing is to be curious and have a learning mindset as you get more comfortable using your computer. Don’t be afraid to ask your children and grandchildren questions, they likely were expecting you to have lots of questions when they gifted you the computer.

Good luck!


Dear Trudy Technology,

My neighbor recently fell victim to a phone scammer pretending to be the IRS. She lost quite a bit of money and it has left me feeling very nervous that I will be fooled myself. I’ve learned from her experience that the IRS won’t ever call asking for personal information or payments, but I know there are all types of scams out there. How can I protect myself?


Afraid of Being Fooled in Freeland

Dear Afraid,

I’m sorry to hear about your neighbor, but I’m happy that you are educating yourself and learning from her experience. You are absolutely correct that the IRS will never call asking for personal information or payments, neither will social security, the police, Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies, or banks.

If you get a call like this, hang up. And don’t feel rude letting calls from numbers you don’t recognize go to voicemail, allowing you to screen them and avoid scammers altogether. A friend will leave a message, a scammer often won’t.

The Federal Trade Commission advises: Do not trust caller ID. Scam calls may show up on caller ID as the Social Security Administration and look like the agency’s real number, but it’s not the SSA calling. Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.

Don’t verify your Social Security number or any other personal information to anyone who calls out of the blue. If you already did, visit to find out what steps to take now. If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of elder fraud, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at or call 877-382-4357.

Wishing you the best,


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