Seniors Are the #1 Target for Online Scammers

By 2035, more than one in five people in the U.S. will be aged 65 and older. This is the country’s fastest growing demographic and the #1 group that scammers are targeting online.

Senior citizens are prime targets because they often have easily accessible, sometimes large, funds and are less computer savvy than younger generations. However, just because the odds are against them doesn’t mean we should discourage them from using technology. They simply need to be taught what to look out for.

In order to protect silver surfers from online fraud or scammer issues, here are some tips from Andrew Newman, CEO and Founder of Reason Software Company, to consider:

  • Email – Email is a wonderful way for the boomer generation to keep up with friends, but it’s a good idea to talk to seniors about phishing emails. Even emails that appear to be from a friend can be dangerous because hackers can send personalized emails with names on them to the victim’s friends..
  • Links and attachments – Remind seniors never to click on a link in an email unless they are certain it was meant for them and they were expecting it. Links and attachments are often infected with malware that can steal passwords and damage files.
  • Social networks – The main pitfall here is that it’s incredibly easy for someone with malicious intent to get information out of unsuspecting “friends”. Seniors need to exercise great caution when connecting with people they don’t know and they should never share too much information with anyone over social media. Explain how preference settings work and that they should only display their personal information to a select group of acquaintances.

Internet shopping – It’s easy to find products and get information immediately, but it’s also easy to get suckered if someone doesn’t know when to be cautious. Some e-commerce sites are merely scams, just waiting for an innocent victim to input credit card details. Others are filled with malicious links and infected banner ads. Warn seniors about potential scams.

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