Top 10 Ways Seniors can Protect Themselves from Digital Scammers

There is disagreement about how prolific cybercrime is against seniors. The FBI’s Internet Complaint Center’s‘2018 Internet Crime Report,’ claims 62,000 seniors have filed fraud complaints amounting to $650 million while TrueLink (account-monitoring software specialized for seniors) estimate elder financial exploitation costs more than $36 billion annually.

Either way, digital scammers have narrowed their sites on elderly folks and is becoming the fastest growing crime niche around the globe. Thieves operate under the assumption that seniors aren’t tech-savvy and hoping to benefit from senility.

These 10 Stepscan help seniors fight back by honing their digital skills and knowledge of developing cyber technology.

Use a Firewall Defense System

A Pew Research Center Survey states 67% of seniors (individuals over the age of 65) regularly use the web on a daily basis. Firewalls are a defense system against malware and viruses which disrupt computer functions.

Scammers use viruses and malware in bogus email attachments, bugged software, and even unprotected Bluetooth connections. By installing a firewall there is an added layer of security against any lurking thieves.

Firewalls must be a reliable protection malicious software and viruses it blocks fake web pages and phishing sites. Choose easy to install, user-friendly without pop-ups, or overly technical demands. A fast firewall shouldn’t slow down your computer or internet performance. Good firewalls don’t regularly ask for attention, but they will remain free of advertising.

Make sure the firewall is turned on, it is located in the control panel of the computer. Be aware that Mac users require specialized antivirus software.

Use a Firewall Defense System

Install Ad Blockers

Malvertising is a term used to describe websites that use marketing tools to employ malware and steal sensitive information. Be careful when surfing the internet because there is malware that can be installed on a computer by simply visiting a web page.

Another added benefit of ad blocking software is fewer annoying pop-ups that can slow down the speed of WIFI and computer performance. Some of the best free ad blockers are Ghostery and Adguard.

Rely on an Installed Antivirus Software

Antivirus programs range in price. There are both free and subscription programs available. It is vital to have more than one defense when it comes to protecting sensitive data. Firewalls aren’t sufficient in defending against ever-evolving criminals who will willingly relieve folks of their retirement funds.

According to the FBI, there were 1700 cases of cybercrime against senior residents in Arizona in 2018 which cost them $12.5 million. The same report cited 254 personal data breaches of elderly citizens costing nearly half-of-a-million-dollars.

Scammers have exploited tech support needs with 221 cases amounting to $1.2 million.199 social media crimes against seniors costing $1.5 million. This type of crime is growing exponentially with more cases developing daily.

The Importance of Using Complex Passwords

Passwords are very important because they protect an individual’s digital life.A proper password must consist of a(difficult to guess) mix of (upper and lowercase)letters, numbers, and special characters. For exampleGrE24!en!dol|;.

It is crucial not to include any personal information like birthdates, social security numbers, and children’s names or maiden names.It’s also important to regularly update passwords and other credentials. Unfortunately, this can result in headaches because online passwords are necessary for almost every authentic website.

Keeping track of passwords can be done through specialty software that keeps track of the passwords for you. Other methods include keeping a specific email account, password diary, password safes, or via a computer’s internet browser. Use caution when relying on internet browsers to safeguard vulnerable details because it can be accessed with malware.

The Importance of Using Complex Passwords

Awareness of Common Scams

Cybercrime is rapidly growing around the world and it is estimated that the international cost is near $600 billion. The majority of these crimes include phishing and email scams.

Phishing is defined as when a scammer pretends to be another individual in an email or other type of digital communication (like messenger’s texts). The message will look real and might try to masquerade as an authentic website. However, there will be details that are incorrect like the name of the page. For instance, it would be Faccebook.com instead of Facebook.com.Make sure you inspect the domain name and logo.

Awareness of Common Scams

Identifying Legitimate Websites

Telling the difference between authentic websites and frauds is an imperative way to protecting financial information and other critical data.

Safety Detectives suggest that It is easy to tell a real website by checking the HTTPS tag. An HTTPS tag is more secure than HTTP tags. Don’t submit credit card information to HTTP sites! Protected websites will have a green padlock icon to the left of the website’s URL (address on the internet).

Similar to phishing scams, fake web addresses will alter small details to appear unique and reliable. Be aware that scammers are intelligent and that fake addresses will be very diligent in creating their imitation. Check the spelling of different websites. Look for subtle changes like zeroes in place of O’s.

Shop Safely

Shopping online at home using a private WIFI network is the safest way to shop online. Public networks are rife with dangers. Don’t check any sensitive information while using free WIFI like financial accounts, travel plans, or anything else thieves might like to get their hands on.

A site should not ask for unreasonable details. Don’t give out social security numbers, birthdays, or maiden names. The most secure way to shop online is to always use a credit card because they have insurance against fraudulent charges. Keep an eye on statements and be vigilant when using any network other than the one at home.

Shop Safely

Safe Social Networking

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. However, there are a few security measures that must be considered due to the criminals scouring the web for easy opportunities which include social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Remember everything posted on the web is there for eternity. The data stays on servers and once posted others can save it on their computers. Be careful what you share on social media.  Photos of birthday celebrations, images of barbeques with addresses visible, and even regularly visited places like shops and parks can lead to cybercrime.

Know every person you accept as contacts on social media. Ignore weird friend requests and messages. Stay mindful when browsing new sites. Third-party links (even those shared by close family members and friends) can be full of viruses or malware. Do not allow websites access to your email contacts.

Secure Online Banking

It is best only to use a private network or WIFI service when accessing banking accounts. If necessary, invest in a mobile data plan or set up a virtual private network (VPN) to protect against fraud and theft.

Many banks have a two-factor authentication process which adds another layer of security by sending a code to your cell phone. That code is entered into the website with a username and password. Two-factor authentication prevents thieves from logging into stolen bank accounts if they have the log-in credentials.

Also, know how your bank will contact you. Most financial institutions do not send emails but rather have secure messages on their websites- this is crucial to know this when successfully protecting sensitive information against digital scammers.

Protect Your Identity

Protecting identities from fraudsters means making certain computers are safe from malware and viruses, being capable of recognizing common scams, and monitoring accounts.

Monitor credit reports and keep an eye out for any unauthorized activity like new credit cards, purchases, loans, or unsolicited consumer credit checks. If you notice anything out of the ordinary freeze your credit report and contact all of your financial institutions immediately.

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