Did you know older adults are five times more vulnerable to tech support scams than other age groups? Tech support scams use scare tactics to persuade users to purchase an expensive “solution” to a nonexistent problem with a computer.

Unfortunately, senior citizens are most likely to relinquish large sums of money to hackers posed as technical support representatives. And the damage doesn’t stop there. Once a scammer is given personal information or allowed access into a device, the senior’s identity is at a greater risk of theft.

This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, educate an older person in avoiding online scams with these best practices:

  1. Avoid opening attachments from unsolicited emails. Phishing emails will often spread malware through attachments. If you open the attachment, a virus can be downloaded onto your device. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know.
  2. Create unique passwords for all your devices and accounts that use at least eight characters with a combination of letters and symbols. Get creative! Then, save it in a password manager.
  3. Update your security software. Anti-virus, firewall, and malware programs provide optimal protection only when they are kept up-to-date.
  4. Take your time when you receive an offer that looks legitimate. Many scams will attempt to create a sense of urgency. Slow down to consider the sender, the message, and why you received the email. Research the offer online as others will often warn that the message is a scam.
  5. Guard your personal information, money, gift cards and other financial assets. If you’re asked to wire money or send gift cards in payment for a service, it’s a scam. Verify the caller or sender of the message even if it’s someone who claims to be your long-lost grandson asking for financial assistance.

Scams of any type can cause grave consequences for seniors including identity theft or significant financial loss. Share these best practices with senior friends or relatives to enable them to enjoy their time on the Internet with improved online security.

This resource was provided by Quanterion Solutions during Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Access additional Cybersecurity Awareness Month resources.

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