Don’t click on any internet sources you don’t know or aren’t familiar with, as they could re-direct you to a website containing malware.
Never respond (or forward!) unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media messages from unknown or unfamiliar senders. Simply delete the message.
(ALM Media archives)
Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
Always use strong and unique passwords, and don’t reuse passwords across multiple platforms, as this allows hackers to access multiple accounts when just one was breached.
Sign up for a comprehensive identity protection service that includes credit and identity monitoring.
Roughly eight out of 10 scam victims are over 65, according to recent reporting from the Federal Trade Commission. When seniors are scammed, they also tend to lose more money ($1,700 on average) than other age groups.
Why? Cybersecurity experts say that seniors are generally slower to adopt online methods for banking shopping and shopping, so they’re less in-tune with the associated risks. Seniors also are targeted because many of them having savings, and because older adults tend to be trusting more trusting than younger people.
What’s more, seniors as a whole simply aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect their identities. According to Generali Global Assistance, 58% of seniors believe they’re doing all they can to protect themselves, but just 21% of seniors have identity theft protection.
It follows that Cyber Protection Services division at Generali Global Assistance wants to alert the public to simply steps individuals can take to protect themselves from digital threats. PC360 recently connected with Paige Schaffer, CEO of Global Identity & Cyber Protection Services at Generali Global Assistance, to find out more:
PC360: Why is this an issue that Generali Global Assistance wants to speak out about and draw attention to?
Schaffer: First and foremost, this is core to our DNA in that that we are a service that actively cares and tries to rectify assistance and challenges where needed and we particularly in particular our business focuses on identity and cyber protection. So while identity crimes and scams leave no age demographic untouched, seniors seem to often bear the brunt of them. They naturally more trusting, and seniors are generally raised to be more polite, so there are some generational characteristics. There’s also a new study that suggests that older people have trouble identifying untrustworthy faces. I think also seniors are targeted more because they have a lot at stake. Many seniors have spent their lives working hard to have a comfortable retirement and therefore there’s more funds available and fraudsters want a piece of it.
PC360: Some things that individuals needs to do to protect themselves from identity theft seem like common sense, like monitoring your bank statements for fraudulent activity. So why do people really need identity protection service? What is the value of such a service?
Schaffer: A single person could make it their job, watching what goes on with their own accounts. In today’s digitized world, a lot of it happens electronically. It’s really important to have somebody acting on your behalf. We offer services like identity monitoring on the dark web. So you can plug in particular data points and if that shows up where it shouldn’t be, you’ll get an alert and the call center can quickly work with you to get it taken care of. We also offer credit monitoring alerts. If somebody were to get some of your information and then open up a home loan or buy a car or any sort of payment plan with credit, you’re going to get notified immediately. So it’s always better to shut it down quicker. Where you can have some proactive monitoring, whether it be our online data protection services that allows you to download to your home computer, then if somebody sends you a phishing email, it’ll flag it. So it kind of prevents you from clicking on that stuff or prevents thieves from capturing your passwords. And so yes, you have to be vigilant yourself. But where the electronic services matter is that you’ve got an organization or company and technologies that are proactively on the hunt for something that doesn’t look right, and it’s always much better to capture it quickly. Because if you don’t, then it’s likely if they open up one account, they’re going to open up another account, and it just goes on and on. It makes it harder to, to bring resolution to the scenario.
We do see a percentage of victims. When you are a victim, you don’t want to be scrambling all over trying to figure out what to do, whether it’s dealing with police reports or a bank account or credit card accounts or the IRS, in the case of tax fraud. It helps to have an expert that knows what to do quickly.
The slideshow above includes seven tips from the Cyber Protection Services division at Generali Global Assistance to help seniors avoid the types of cyber scams that tend to target older adults.