Identity theft and similar types of cyber crime are a growing problem for every sector of the population. However, it’s seniors who tend to become victims more often than their younger counterparts.
Seniors are one of the most vulnerable groups because they often have limited awareness of cyber security prevention techniques.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proclaimed October to be National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It is a time to help everyone learn more about his growing form of crime.
Cyber Crime Prevention Tips for Older Adults
To help raise awareness, we’re sharing these cyber security tips for seniors and their caregivers. They make sense for people of any age, but since scammers often target older adults be sure to share these with any older adults you know.
Don’t Respond to Emails Asking for Personal Information
Scammers often pose as representatives from companies with which you may have an account. They’ll pretend to need your personal information for verification or other seemingly legitimate purposes.
If you receive an email asking you for your Social Security number or credit card information, don’t reply. Don’t even give out your full name, address, or phone number.
If you’re worried that you’re missing important communications from a company you recognize, contact them directly.
Be Careful of Your ‘Friends’ on Social Media
Cyber criminals can just as easily pose as people you’re likely to ‘friend’ on social media websites, like Facebook. Why would they want to do that? Eventually, they’re hoping that if you come to know and trust them on social media, you’ll reveal some personal information that could help them steal your identity.
Even information you consider ‘safe’ to reveal can become a clue for savvy cyber criminals. Examples would be the name of your doctor or where you go to church.
Don’t Respond to Emails Offering ‘Free’ Gifts or Prizes
The modern human brain is hardwired to respond positively to the word ‘FREE.’ Scammers know this, and they use it in emails to get you excited.
You should be wary of these messages. They offer enticing ‘free’ vacations, prizes, and gifts. But they’re really just traps to get you to give up your personal information.
Practice Safe Web Browsing
Your browsing habits also can put your security at risk. Be conscious of where you click while visiting a website. Sometimes clicking can launch a download you weren’t expecting or aren’t aware of. These downloads are particularly dangerous because they may contain malicious code.
Malicious code can be responsible for any number of cyber threats such as viruses, worms, and keyboard loggers — a way of recording your keystrokes.
Don’t join online clubs on websites that you don’t know, either. The same goes for entering contests. Unless you’re confident you are visiting a reputable website, don’t share any personal information including your email.
Don’t Engage With Emails from Unknown Senders
Email with links and attachments are another type of trap. Again, practice caution with senders you don’t know.
Internet Usage and Older Americans
Don’t let all the warnings scare you! The internet is a powerful tool for seniors who want to stay in touch with loved ones and continue learning. Caregivers can help by answering questions and checking to be sure security measures, like antivirus programs, are in place.
At Five Star Senior Living, we encourage our residents to take advantage of technology. It’s how we all stay connected, entertained, and informed, no matter what age we might be.
It’s also part of the Five Star Difference. Call us today to find out more!