We are living in the age of constant connection. In 2016 over 75% of Americans used the internet and mobile devices on a daily basis. Mobile devices, tablets, etc. make it easier than ever to stay connected and informed with family and friends. This increased connectivity has many advantages but can present unnecessary risks, specifically for Americans over the age of 65.

May is Older Americans Month, a month to celebrate the vitality and achievements of the older adults in our life as well as providing an opportunity to talk about the importance of cyber security. Cyber criminals do not discriminate on their victim choice however they are more likely to attack aging Americans who may be less informed and more likely to fall for online scams. Learning how to protect ourselves and our personal information online is just as important as learning how to use it in the first place.

We can fight back against these criminals by equipping older Americans with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves. The Department of Homeland Security encourages older Americans, and all citizens to follow three tips to stay safe online.

  1. Beware of anything that claims to be “free”, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  2. Most organizations and businesses will never ask you for personal information over email. Beware of any request to update or confirm your personal information.
  3. Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family but it is important that you only add people that you personally know; adding strangers can leave you and your personal information exposed to scammers.

Cybercrime comes in several forms and will only increase as more people are utilizing the internet. Seniors are being defrauded at 2 times the rate of the rest of the population, and with the average cost of a cyber-attack falling around $9,000; it’s time we fight back. If you or someone you know would like more information on this issue please visit with our helpful employees at your local branch or visit the Homeland Security website.

Older Americans Month- Help Seniors Protect Against Online Fraud.

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