It’s a sad fact that many scammers and hackers will try to take advantage of the vulnerability of Senior citizens. Some scammers may feel that they have accumulated wealth which makes them a favorite target, while others might feel the Senior will be less likely to report what happened to them for fear of being embarrassed. Many people see this level of vulnerability and prey on it, making the Senior an easy victim for those who have ill intent. Here we look at some facts and how to protect them in the world of cyberspace.
Two-Thirds Of Senior Citizens Fall Victim To Scams
Surveys have found that two-thirds of Senior citizens in the United States have fallen victim to an online scam or hack , with an additional 38% reporting that someone had at least tried to scam them online. In addition to this, 28% of Seniors have also risked their information by unintentionally downloading a computer virus. With more and more Seniors now getting online and with cyberspace being relatively new to them, this makes the Seniors a high risk for such incidences.
How To Protect Seniors Online
The executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, Michael Kaiser, encourages family and friends to help their Seniors protect themselves online. While it is almost impossible to be 100% protected while online, there are several things one can do to eliminate the risk of becoming a target and victim of cyber crimes. One such way to help reduce risk is to have the Seniors visit an educational program called Protect Seniors Online. This can be found at ProtectSeniorsOnline.com and Seniors can actually take a quiz which tests their knowledge regarding cyber security.
Understand The Risks And Take Precautions
By understanding the risks associated with using the Internet, Seniors can take precautions to avoid becoming a higher risk target for scammers and hackers. With about 97% of Seniors now getting online at least once a week, this has never been more important. The safety tips are the same for Seniors as they are for anyone else using the Internet, but Seniors just need to become aware of these safety tips.
The safety tips include creating strong passwords and using them for all of your devices and accounts. Creating a mix of letters and numbers makes a password even more secure. Take advantage of two step verification systems to further protect your information. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails and don’t click on links from them. When in doubt, delete the email to avoid any threat. Remember, many emails will try to trick the reader into opening it by claiming there is an issue with an account or something of that nature. Most of these are scams because your credit card company or financial institution has other ways of contacting you and assuring you it’s really them.
Other safety precautions include limiting personal information you share on social media and implementing privacy settings. Make sure Seniors have and use anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Make sure to remind them to log out and close their browser when finished to avoid a potential security breach.
Help Them Out
If you know a Senior who is active online, take the time to explain these safety measures to them and check out their online activity and offers tips and suggestions to help keep them safe. Adult children, grandchildren who are good with computers, or another trusted person may make all the difference in making sure the Senior is aware of the dangers of the threats out there and that they know how to handle them without putting themselves at risk.
For most Seniors, the Internet is a relatively new place for them to be exploring, so it is natural that they could easily make a mistake that could put their financial security at risk. As sad as it sounds, there are scammers and hackers out there who would totally rob a Senior citizen of everything they have worked their entire lives to earn, without any guilt about it at all. This is why teaching them cyber safety and implementing security measures is so important. We want their online experience to be a positive one, where they can explore and conduct their affairs with confidence.
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