GUEST ESSAY: Top 5 Online Privacy and Data Security Threats Older People Face

What is it about older people that makes them such attractive targets for cybercriminals? Various factors play a role.

Related: The arrival of bio-digital twins

Unlike many young online users, they may have accumulated savings over their lifetime – and these savings are a major target for hackers. Now add psychological variables to the mix of assets worth stealing.

Maybe older people who haven’t spent much time online are easier to fool. And, let’s be honestthe deceptive script phishing attacks and other cyber threats employed today are skilled enough to fool even the most skilled and savvy experts on the Internet.

Threats still present

Some of our elderly people may fear that the slightest hint of weakness will convince their loved ones that they can no longer live on their own. Thus, hackers rely on them not to reveal that they have been tricked. That said, here are what I consider to be the top 5 online threats seniors face today:

• Computer technical support scams. These scams take advantage of seniors’ lack of computer and cybersecurity knowledge. A pop-up message or blank screen usually appears on a computer or phone, letting you know that your system has been compromised and needs repair.

When you contact the support number for help, the scammer may demand remote access to your computer and payment to fix it. Once they gain remote access, fraudsters hack into the elderly’s confidential information and scam them. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seniors lost $500 everyone on IT tech support scams in 2018.

• Internet and e-mail fraud. Although internet browsing is a valuable skill at any age, some older people have a slower adoption rate, making them ideal candidates for automated internet scams common on the web and in messaging apps.

Browser pop-ups imitating virus detection software will trick users into installing either a fake antivirus program (paid) or a real virus that will give crooks access to all information on the computer. user. Older people are particularly vulnerable to such traps because they are inexperienced with the less obvious components of web browsing.

Phishing emails and messages may come from a company you know well or trust, and they may appear to be from a credit card company or bank. Phishing emails may request personal information such as an ID or social security number to authenticate your account, or they may trick you into sharing your credit card payment information. Then they steal your personal and financial information using this information.

•Identity theft. Identity theft can happen online, over the phone, or without the victim’s knowledge by stealing the victim’s information. A criminal who exploits a person’s medical or insurance information to make fraudulent claims is known as medical identity theft.

They can either use the data to charge for services or steal the money. In each case, the victim is liable for thousands of dollars. Since the scammer’s medical records are linked to the victims’ information, it may not be easy to qualify for insurance in the future.

Scams involving the Social Security Administration are not new, but they are becoming increasingly active and dangerous. In this type of attack, fraudsters inform the victim that their social security number has been used fraudulently and threaten to put them in jail if they do not comply with specific demands. If they succeed in obtaining the victim’s PII, they will be able to steal their social security benefits.

• Romance scam. Online platforms are a great place for many seniors to connect and interact with new people. However, cyber criminals use it as a playground and use these online portals to play with the emotions of the elderly.


An elderly victim is tricked into believing that she has a relationship of trust with the actor of this crime. The abuser, who may pose as the victim’s grandson or lover, takes advantage of this connection to persuade the victim to share financial information, donate money, buy expensive gifts or to unintentionally launder money. This extremely gruesome cybercrime mainly targets old women and newly widowed people.

Debt relief scams. Older people often worry about their debts and fraudsters take advantage of this. They create fake websites to provide debt settlement services. They ask seniors to give their financial details and pay an initial fee.

Be Aware, Be Prepared

Don’t be scared or humiliated to tell someone you trust if you think you’ve been scammed. You are not alone and resources are available to help you. Doing nothing will make the situation worse. Keep a list of phone numbers and services ready, such as your local police department, bank, and adult protective services. They will help you.

About the essayist: Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience as well as in-depth consumer credit and drafting knowledge and experience. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the McGeorge School of Law at Pacific University in Sacramento, California in 1998 and currently works for the Oak View Legal Group in California as a senior attorney.

*** This is a syndicated blog from the Security Bloggers Network of The Last Watchdog written by bacohido. Read the original post at:

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