Let’s take a look at good cybersecurity practices that can save the elderly from being scammed.
As you get older, it gets harder and harder to keep up with the advances in technology. Also, cybercriminals are exploiting the pandemic-induced shift to the digital realm to their benefit. The elderly lose US$30 billion a year to online scams, and as of 2020, there has been a 69% increase in online scam reports.
With the elderly getting scammed at such a rapid rate, it is important for us to find ways to educate them on how to identify any scams or phishing attempts they might encounter online.
Not everyone is trustworthy
The most important thing to remember when using the internet is that not everyone you interact with will be reliable. Senior netizens, who are not familiar with how to verify the other users approaching them via emails, social media or text messages, they may fall victim to online scams easily. Hence, here’s a golden rule for older people online to remember—unless you have a real-life relationship with the people you are speaking to online, it is likely that they might take advantage of you.
Around 70% of ransomware attacks take place through phishing links sent via emails or social media platforms. So, if you get an email with a subject line that says “Free”, it’s best to avoid opening it. To avoid falling for these, verify the sender’s email ID. Sometimes the scammers’ email ID or social media handle might only differ from a legitimate account by one or two letters.
Don’t share sensitive information online
You must avoid sharing your personal information on the internet. This information can be used by scammers or hackers to access your bank accounts. Often you might get emails or find yourself on your bank’s “website” with pop-ups asking you for your personal information. You must remember that a real bank never asks for your personal information through these means.
If a mail or a website link asking for information seems untrustworthy, call your bank up. They can guide you on what next steps need to be taken to prevent your identity from being stolen.
Make sure to take preventative measures
Another tactic you can use to ensure internet safety is to log out of your accounts on devices that you share with someone else. If you don’t log out of, say, your Facebook account, then the next person who uses the device after you could gain access to your account. You could also ask your friends or family to teach you how to wipe your session history.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you access public Wi-Fi will also help you stay safe. VPNs prevent other users within the network from spying on you. They also keep your web browsing anonymous by making it seem like you are accessing the internet from somewhere far away from your current location.
Finally, if you do end up getting scammed, it is crucial that you report it to concerned authorities, which can help prevent the same thing from happening to others. These tips as well as other authentic resources can help any elderly person master cybersecurity.
Header image courtesy of Freepik