1. Older adults are the targets of choice for certain kinds of fraud
Older adults are targeted because they have savings and financial resources. They are also the least likely to report being the victims of fraud. Seniors also receive Medicare and Social Security benefits, making them targets for some of the most popular scams. Other popular scams targeting seniors include the sale of anti-aging products, reverse-mortgage scams, and funeral planning scams. The Federal Trade Commission has also noted an increase in the sale of anti-aging products, which of course, are targeted to older adult audiences.
2. Personal information stolen in a breach that occurred a long time DOES put you at risk for fraudulent activity.
Personal information from hacked databases is sold on the Internet. Old information doesn’t mean that it can’t still be used in future attempts to scam you. Some information, like your date of birth, never changes. Other information, like a hacked password, can be used against you if you haven’t changed the password or tend to use the same password across many sites.
Personal information stolen at any point could be used nefariously. Just because you have not yet been alerted of use of your personal information does not mean your personal information will not be used by cybercriminals later.
3. It is more difficult to steal credit card information from an online transaction than from an in person transaction.
Cashier stations have long been targeted by cybercriminals. From dishonest cashiers to hidden card readers, in-person purchases using credit or debit cards can expose you to more risk than the highly regulated and encrypted world of online transactions. Online transactions are highly secure and rigorously regulated. Nothing is fool proof, but online transactions are at least as secure as in-person.
4. The ‘s’ in a web address https:// means the site is secure.
The ‘s’ in https means that the website encrypts all information passing from your browser to the website. You still must be certain that you are visiting the exact website you want to share your personal information with. This video explains it.
5. If you are using a public Wi-Fi network in an airport or hotel, it is NOT safe for you to login to financial accounts.
Any Wi-Fi network that is not your own home Wi-Fi should be used as though it is public. Airports, hotels and restaurants are all public networks and other users of that Wi-Fi may be able to see at least some of your online activities. Your passwords and other login information will be encrypted if you are connecting to a secure site using https, but you should limit sensitive or financial transactions when possible. You can also use a virtual private network (VPN) to completely secure your online activity when you must use a public Wi-Fi network.
6. You receive a text message warning you that your bank account has been suspended. It says that you must click on the link in the text and update your login and password within the next 24 hours – DON’T.
If you are notified of any activity regarding any financial account, call the official phone number of your financial institution to verify there is an issue. Malicious scams come via voice or voicemail messages (Vishing), by email, (phishing); by text message, (SMiShing.)
7. Ransomware is when a hacker locks or encrypts all the files on your computer and demands payment to unlock or decrypt the files.
Ransomware attacks can start with an unexpected phone call or an email message offering you technical support. The most important clue to remember—the offer for tech support was unexpected. This video lets you watch a ransomware attack in action so you will be better prepared to avoid on in the future.
8. When Apple, Google, Windows and other manufacturers issue an update, it’s best to install the update immediately.
Cybercriminals and hackers work 24/7 to find vulnerabilities in software. Software companies pay attention to the work of hackers and create patches and ‘fixes’ to prevent hackers from succeeding. Install recommended updates right away to receive the latest patches and fixes.
9. Password security – best practices for ensuring passwords are secure.
The passwords that are easiest for us to remember are also the passwords that easiest for hackers to guess. Never use birthdates, anniversary dates, death dates, graduation years, names of pets or loved ones and do not reuse the same password over and over. Storing passwords in Keychain if you use an iOS device or your browser can help you to keep track of passwords. A password manager is also a tool that can help.
10. Older home WiFi routers that lack WPA2 security protocol are easily hacked and should be replaced.
Old Wi-Fi routers can easily be hacked by anyone with instructions freely available on the Internet. Fortunately, newer security protocols have are far better. You need a router with WPA2 at minimum, but if you are buying a new router look for WPA3. If your router only supports the old standards of WEP or WPA, you should replace it. A hacker can easily get into your network, and once there, can access your computers and other connected devices. This video explains this topic in more detail.
Want to learn more about how you can better protect yourself from internet fraud and cyber-crime?
Take a look at these videos or check out a Connections Internet Safety class near you!