Stay Safe from Online Threats That Target Seniors

By  //  March 25, 2021

The Internet is a wonderful space. It allows you to watch your favorite TV shows, listen to music, catch up with the latest news, monitor your financial accounts, and communicate with your friends and family from a safe distance. 

Unfortunately, the Internet also has its share of threats. As more people spend time online every day, especially in the age of physical distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals look for new sophisticated ways to target vulnerable people like children and the elderly.

For example, hackers can use spyware to spy on your online activity quietly. They can copy your usernames and passwords to gain access to your sensitive online accounts. They can also infect your computer with ransomware, locking your computer until you pay a bounty online.

Some online predators even use stalkerware to breach the security and privacy of children by secretly taking pictures and videos through your webcam.

Use Top Cybersecurity Tools

Your first line of defense is your cybersecurity software. Although your Windows-powered PC or your Mac offers basic protection, your computer’s default security tools aren’t sufficient to shield you from the complex malicious software used by hackers today.

Your best bet is to download cutting-edge cybersecurity tools like Malwarebytes antivirus software that uses heuristic anti-malware technology to examine a potential threat’s overall structure, programming logic, and data for red flags.

Unlike conventional antivirus software, which uses signature-based technology, advanced antivirus software analyzes a potential threat’s behavior. In other words, advanced antivirus software can catch malicious software in disguise or malicious software that’s relatively unknown yet still quite dangerous and destructive.

Besides advanced antivirus software, please ensure that your computer updates automatically to the latest and most secure version. Always avoid suspicious websites, links, and emails to protect your machine from malware infections.

Learn About Common Senior Scams

Remember, knowledge is power. You can avoid common elder scams more easily if you know more about them.

■ Romance scam: A criminal posing as a potential romantic interest may contact you online through a dating website or social media page and take weeks, months, or even a year to patiently gain your confidence before asking for a loan or money for an emergency.

■ Grandparent scam: It’s easy for anyone to create a fake profile on social media with a picture and some publicly available information. If your grandchild contacts you online asking for money or wants you to click on a suspicious link, then try to verify their identity. Usually, you can just pick up the phone and call them directly.

■ Lottery Scam: Hackers will contact you online claiming that you’ve won the lottery and may ask for a sizable fee before they can send you your money. Of course, the check will never arrive.

■ Government Scam: A cybercriminal may pose as a government employee like a law enforcement official and claim that you need to pay them immediately to avoid arrest.

If you believe that you’re the victim of a scam, please get in touch with law enforcement officials as soon as possible. Likewise, if you notice any strange activity on your financial accounts, contact your bank. With the best cybersecurity tools and some vigilance, you can stay safe and secure on the Internet.