When people think about vulnerable populations using the Internet, they typically think about children. But the truth is, that another, equally vulnerable population also exists, and that’s senior citizens.
The Washington State Office of the Attorney General reports that “entirely new types of crime are created to target seniors; the issue lies in how existing crimes are tailored specifically to exploit older Internet users.” For example, “scams aimed at seniors are more likely to offer discount drugs and low-cost insurance.” And “phishing scams frequently target seniors with ‘bank notices’ or official-looking ‘government documents.’”
If you are a senior citizen or know someone who is, here are some tips that will help ensure greater online personal safety:
- Don’t click on links sent to you by someone you don’t know. “By clicking the link, you may be taken to a site that may look like your bank or credit card company, but isn’t.” Bookmark the real site “as a favorite on your browser so that one click brings you there safely every time.”
- If you receive an e-mail that asks for any personal/financial information, delete it immediately: “no bank or reputable company is going to send you an e-mail asking you to correct your information, validate your identity, re-enter your password, and so on.”
- Some scams will contain verbiage that warns against fraud. This is not always true, especially since anyone can say this. Only valid websites will actually protect you and any information you offer.
- “Never believe that someone you don’t know is going to give you money” and NEVER respond to any e-mail that makes you an offer that seems too good to be true because it probably is. This also includes notifications that you have won a lottery or prize, but that to claim it, you have to turn over a bank account number to the sender.
Fraudsters work on the assumption that seniors are more trusting or perhaps aren’t as clear-thinking as younger adults. Protect your privacy and remember that it’s “better to be rude than ripped off.” Always ask questions and demand “validation, verification, and authentication before giving your information to anyone.”
To make sure that your actual computer is itself safeguarded against two other security risks–hacking and computer viruses–it may also help to consult with a qualified computer expert. The technicians at Austin Mobile Repair can quickly and easily review your security settings to ensure they are both functional and up-to-date. Why be sorry when you can stay safe?