The Silver Life - Online community and resource for active Silver Surfers

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

The Silver Life

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

Cyber Security Updates

It’s Called Technophobia
Spotting ScamsSpotting Scams

According to the National Council on Aging, their latest figures show that online scams have bilked we Silver Agers out of nearly one billion dollars.

Those figures are almost two years old, so that figure today would be much more, with the web site Checkpoint reporting that cyber attacks grow by 50% each year.

I’ll freely admit that I love the internet. I am in awe of what I have, literally, at my fingertips. I find it a great and efficient source of news, entertainment, and research (Sadly, I am completely uncomfortable in social media and all of its components). I also realize that I am only tapping the very surface of the internet’s capabilities, while my younger colleagues, children, and grandchildren view me as a bumbling dinosaur when it comes to the “information age”.

Having said that, I am aware that everyone who goes on line in one form or another is a potential target for myriad frauds and scams. We Silver Agers are a particularly “target rich” environment as we tend to have more money, may have memory lapses, and are not as savvy about internet fraud as younger folks.

In talking with a couple who specialize in Cyber Security for industry, they casually mentioned that unless one has a RFID wallet to protect one’s credit and identification cards from being scanned, most airports in the United States (and I assume elsewhere) routinely scan to ascertain what you have purchased. Of course, fraudsters can use the same technology to scan and then steal one’s identity and have a wonderful shopping spree at your expense.

So, how can we reduce our chances of being a victim of cybercrime? You may have already heard of many or each of the following, but as simple and dated as they may sound, they remain a great first line of defense.

First, do not click on or open any link from anyone unknown to you. In fact, treat with caution even links from acquaintances that seem to have a suspicious subject or message. These will often conceal malware that can give the sender access to your computer and all of its files or maliciously shut it down or damage it. Another form this attack may take is a phishing link, which will take you to a site that steals your financial and personal information.

Second, never open an attachment unless you know the sender and were expecting the attachment. The attachment can be anything, including a word document, voicemail, PDF file, etc. Even if the attachment is from a friend, if you weren’t expecting it, you should contact him or her and ask about it.

Third, do not answer those ubiquitous robocalls. They often claim to be from your utility provider, someone offering a warranty for your car or appliances, an internet provider telling you that your computer has been hacked, or even your bank or credit card company letting you know that they need to verify information. Each of these will want you to give them personal information that they can then use to steal your identity.

My Cyber Security friends also told me that the technology in their field has progressed to the point that a relative’s voice can be synthesized so that it is a perfect duplicate. Scammers then can use that to call you and, in the fraudulent voice of a relative, ask for money to help them out of a difficult situation.

Finally, as we noted earlier, get a RFID wallet to protect all of your credit cards and identification everywhere you go.

The criminal element is always changing, adapting, and searching for new and more lucrative targets. Try to be alert and aware of the latest scams and preventative measures. We are not going to reform the criminals, so make that criminals go elsewhere than your pocketbook.

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About the Author: Dennis F.

Dennis has lived or traveled in Australia, the United States and Asia. He is an Army veteran with a PhD in Child and Developmental Psychology. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, USA, with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Dennis is keenly interested in antiques, particularly militaria and coins. He occupies his time researching and writing for The Silver Life and caretaking houses for the summer residents of the mountains. Dennis is a founding member of The Silver Life.

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