Local businessman aims to make seniors feel appreciated and safe

Daily Herald Staff photo. Local businessman Osagie “Leo” Ekhaguere hands out a gift card to a senior in Prince Albert on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Seniors need to be appreciated and protected.

That was the message from local businessman Osagie “Leo” Ekhaguere on Wednesday as he travelled to three Prince Albert locations handing out restaurant gift cards to local seniors.

Ekhaguere did something similar on Christmas Eve, when he travelled through Prince Albert handing out gift cards to homeless and vulnerable residents. On Wednesday, he decided to focus on seniors.

“We want to show that we love them, that they are not forgotten,” Ekhaguere said. “We want them to take that into their subconsciousness as they continue to age, that in this community, we are not just providing security services.  We also love our people.”

Ekhaguere said his Christian faith inspired him to start handing out gift cards. He was worried many local seniors think nobody cares about them. He’s hopeful those who received gift cards will feel like they are appreciated by the community.

Ideally, he’d like to see other local businesses do the same thing and make seniors feel welcome.

“If others would emulate this, it would be kind of like a snowball,” he said. “It will be better for everyone, so I want others to look at this and do the same. It will make our community better.”

Helping seniors feel appreciated wasn’t the only thing Ekhaguere wanted to accomplish on Wednesday.

Ekhaguere is the President and CEO of Lions Security, a company that provides on-site and cyber security services, and he’s worried about fraud calls and emails targeting seniors.

Along with the gift cards, Ekhaguere handed out a list of tips and best practices so seniors can make sure they are not taken advantage of.

“Most of our seniors are not cyber security conscious,” he said. “They don’t know how to protect themselves from cyber criminals.

“They (criminals) don’t care about anybody,” he added. “We want to educate our seniors so that they can fortify themselves … and don’t fall victim to those fraudsters. They are just … everywhere and in PA, our seniors are not conscious enough. We want to make them conscious. We want to teach them how to escape those cyber criminals.”

Ekhaguere said cyber criminals and fraudsters have several tricks they can use to get targets to give up passwords or other valuable information.

He encouraged all residents, not just seniors, to double check requests for money. When residents receive a suspicious call or email from what appears to be a bank or a government agency, Ekhaguere said residents should confirm it with a second source before sending any money or giving out any information.

In the case of suspicious emails, that means logging off an calling a bank, government agency, or family member.

One of the most important things seniors can do, Ekhaguere added, is beef up their passwords. He said residents with simple passwords made up of short words or easily guessed names and dates are leaving themselves vulnerable.

“Keeping it short gets them into trouble,” he said. “Most of our seniors don’t know. We have to let them know that your password for anything, in the digital space, will be very long. Mix it (up) with capital letters and small letters … so that whoever is cracking it, they will find it very hard to crack.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca