Keeping The Elderly Safe From Cyber Threats

Your grandmother, your mother, your grandfather, your father, your brothers, and sisters need your help to stay safe from cybercriminals. Have you checked in on the elders in your family and their online habits? Have you informed your parents of ongoing cyber threats and how to prevent them? 

At AGT, we want anyone and everyone to have the knowledge and the solutions to keep themselves safe from cyber threats. Our elderly are people that we cannot forget about in any way, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Cybercriminals specifically target the elderly because they grew up in an era where they did not have to face such threats. As we all know, the internet is the wild wild west.

$30 billion is the estimated amount that elders lose each year due to online scams. 954,000 is the estimated number of elders that have to skip a meal or more due to financial hardships resulting from online scams and caregiver abuse. According to a study made in 2012 by Stanford Center on Longevity and the United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, elderly people are more likely being targeted by cybercriminals. The survey concludes that those over 65 are 35% more prone to financial loss on a cyber scam than others below the generation of people in their 30s.

 Technology is evolving at such a rapid rate in this day and age. With new technology comes new cyber threats. It isn’t easy keeping up with technological advances and cybercriminals prey on those who do not know how systems work. Most of our elderly do not know how to properly use the internet. With that being said, how will they know what a potential scam/cyber threat looks like? It is up to our generation to protect our elderly from cyber threats. 

Encourage them to change login credentials often
Express to your elderly the importance of changing their passwords and usernames often. Inform them of identity theft and ways to prevent it. Inform them on how to create strong passwords and remind them not to save their login credentials anywhere on their computers. Strong passwords should be anywhere between 8-10 characters long with lower-cased and upper-cased letters as well as numbers.

Show them what scams look like
It is best to prepare seniors with examples of what online scams look like and as we know, there are plenty. From dating website scams, to email scams, and especially phone scams, they need to be shown what these are and how to prevent them. 

Inform your elderly of what phishing email scams look like. Cyber criminals will trick the elderly with “deals” and “giveaways”. Let them know not to click on anything and it is better to be safe than sorry. Let them know that there is no need to open any emails unless the email address is one that they possibly recognize. 

Dating website are commonly used amongst our elders. There is a form of scamming called “sweetheart scams”. This is where cyber criminals prey on our elders and parents to forfeit money and even banking information while they are in hope of finding potential partners. Let your elderly know to be wary of people online and to not fall for any tricks. Always meet people in person first, never assume that people are “real” online and are not what we call “catfish”. 

Deadly phone calls
Our elders are notorious for answering any and all telemarketing phone calls. There are an obscene number of scamming phone calls sent to the elderly each day and this is the outlet where most of the elderly are stolen from. There are fake government phone scams that lure people to hand over their social security numbers and banking information. Let them know that if it seems phishy, encourage them to cut the line, so to speak. Hang up the phone immediately and do not give over any critical information over the phone without knowing who they are speaking with. Most government branches send letters through the mail and encourage you to call THEM. 

Our elderly have watched over us as we grew up, keeping us safe from threats that we did not know of and have taught us how to safely maneuver in this world. It is up to our generation to ensure the safety of our people that do not know of the dangers that lurk within the cyber world. At AGT, we encourage you to educate and bring awareness to your elderly and monitor their digital footprint. 

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