Annually, older Americans are scammed out of nearly $3 billion. With the older adult population increasing, this problem will likely continue to grow. Information and knowledge are key to protecting us all from falling victim to scams. Here are some cybersecurity tips to keep you and your identity safe.
- Choose a personalized password with 12 characters or more that uses a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. Create a unique password for all accounts.
- Passwords can be stolen. Adding two-step verification to accounts provides an additional layer of protection.
- Communications that create a sense of urgency are most likely scams. If you’re concerned, call the company directly. NEVER use the phone number or link within the original communication.
- Most businesses or organizations don’t ask for our personal information over email or text. Beware of any requests to update or confirm your personal information.
- Keep your mobile devices in your possession at all times and always be aware of your surroundings. Lock all of your devices including computers, tablets, and smartphones with strong passwords.
- If you use social media sites, be sure to limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely. Avoid sharing your location.
- Avoid opening attachments, clicking on links, or responding to email and text messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information. Keep in mind that scammers can hijack phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts.
- Install reliable security software on your devices and update regularly. It can help protect your information if you run the antivirus software on a consistent basis.
- If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
- It is important to add only people you know on social media sites. Adding strangers could expose you and your personal information to scammers.
- Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not secure. Avoid accessing private accounts while connected to the public internet. Using your mobile data is a safer way to connect to the internet while on the go.
For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0038-onguardonline. If you are the victim of online crime, you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov/Home/ComplaintChoice/default.aspx.
Resources: cisa.gov, protectseniorsonline.com, consumer.ftc.gov, fbi.gov