According to research, seniors who use the internet are at high risk of falling prey to cyber-attacks. Alarmingly, research shows that older adults (over 60 years old) lose almost $650 million a year from being victims of cybercrime. Unfortunately, attackers are preying on the senior’s lack of cybersecurity knowledge and overall vulnerability in hopes of getting a score that has proven to be successful over the years. In fact, 5 times increase in cyber-attacks on older adults have been recorded since 2014.
How do we go about this dilemma? The internet is enjoyed by many and usage is only expected to grow in all age groups; however, there are a few scams that specifically target seniors. Knowing this is important for seniors who want to enjoy the internet with a peace of mind so that you can be more careful alert and careful when browsing the web.
Here’s a list of internet scams targeting seniors that will shock you:
Phishing is the most common type of internet scam where hackers use fake information to bait unsuspecting seniors. Phishing scams exist in the form of spam emails that contain fraudulent information to bait seniors into clicking on them or even give up personal information. Without thinking twice, seniors will usually click on these emails which instantly downloads malware onto their devices. In most cases, these seniors remain unaware until it is too late.
As we know, we can buy all sorts of things on the internet. Most of us know that we must be careful in ensuring the purchases are from legitimate sources. Unfortunately for seniors, some of them do not know this and are duped into purchasing counterfeit drugs. Seniors in the US consume one-third of all prescription drugs and scammers know this. These counterfeit drugs are not only extremely low in potency, but they also contain additives that can make the seniors health deteriorate even further.
A sweetheart scam is one of the worst because it can ultimately destroy the victim in terms of preying on their emotions and also tricking seniors into giving up all their money. This type of scam preys on the loneliness of seniors who might just be innocently looking for companionship online. In one example, daughter Angie Kennard only found out that her father was scammed of over $700,000 by a ‘woman’ he met online. Even then, Angie only found this out by chance, when her father had a stroke and handed his finances over. And it was too late – her father was scammed out of all his savings.
You’ve probably seen this before – bright, loud, and pulsing images of lottery or sweepstakes advertisements claiming you’ve won a prize. While most of us today know better than to fall for this trick, unfortunately, many seniors do not know this. These scams usually bait seniors to give up their bank information in order to ‘claim their prize’. Naïve seniors unfortunately do not know better and give up their information with ease.
It is heartbreaking that there are so many online scams out there targeting vulnerable people like our seniors. Besides the few listed above, there are in fact all sorts of other scams as cyber-attackers are always getting creative in their attacks. Nevertheless, one of the biggest ways we can prevent attacks from occurring is by creating awareness and educating seniors on responsible cyber safety etiquette. By being aware of what can happen, seniors can be more alert and think twice before believing everything that they see online.