The US elderly lose more than $ 3 trillion a year as a result of online fraud.
People in this age group are considered more vulnerable to online fraud, as cybercriminals can exploit their trust and, in some cases, the deterioration of cognitive functions caused by ageing.
At the same time, they are not familiar with technology and are not properly trained in cyber security issues.
However, by applying the following ESET tips, older users can stay safe from the most common online scams:
- We are cautious: Any acquaintance we make online is not necessarily reliable, on the contrary, it is safer to believe that messages we receive from unknown senders are likely to be fraudulent. Likewise, we must be cautious even if the message is sent (or seems to be sent) by someone we know, and it is a good reservation to have it for all types of messages, whether in email, messaging applications, or social media. The best practice is to always keep in mind anything unusual about the message or the sender, and in case we are unsure of its reliability, delete it.
- We never give money to strangers: Scams where cybercriminals pretend to be interested in a romantic relationship and deceive users of all ages to send them money, constituted in 2018, the second most ”expensive” type of online fraud, recording monetary losses of 362 million dollars. For years, “romantic scams” have been high on the list of the most common scams for the elderly, especially because loneliness is one of the most common problems many of them face.
- Beware of ‘clicks’: One of the common scams, phishing attacks, usually starts with an unwanted email or a message on social media. Pretending that it comes from a trustworthy source and using social engineering techniques, this message attempts to deceive the user and to elicit sensitive data, such as credit card details or login credentials. Cybercriminals often make regular websites and pages on Facebook using them as bait. For this reason, if we suddenly receive an email, even if it seems to come from a trustworthy source, we never open the links and its attached files.
- We say no to “gifts with conditions”: A common scam is the emails that ”congratulate” the recipient and inform him that ”he has won a gift”, however, to get it, he needs to give his personal details and/or money as a form of advance that will guarantee the gift. Usually, he is asked to do so immediately ”not to miss the opportunity”. Let us remember that no trustworthy competition ever asks for a return, and even money, to give the winners their prizes.
- We don’t give remote access to our device: In “tech support” scams, cybercriminals try to convince the victim that his computer has been hacked by malware and that they need to remotely access the device so they can fix the problem. The pretext is fake, but the loss of personal information and money caused is far from true. We should never allow a stranger to access our computer remotely, even if it claims to represent a trusted manufacturer.
Finally, ESET advises younger users to talk to their parents and grandparents and to explain in a simple way basic cybersecurity practices. In addition to a better understanding of the dangers of the online world, many of them will feel less lonely, which will ultimately help them stay safer on the Internet.