Welcome to the last article on our online safety series.
Many seniors today use emails is an essential communication to stay in touch with family and friends, receive important news and updates, and even manage their finances. Unfortunately, emails can also be a gateway for scammers and hackers looking to steal your personal and financial information.
Research shows that the average loss from email and phone scams amounted to $426 for people in their 60s, $635 for those in their 70s, and $1,300 for those in their 80s.
Much of this loss stems from a misunderstanding of email content and the way they are handled. To protect yourself from email scams and enhance your email safety, here are five tips and tricks.
Online Safety Tip #1: Be cautious of suspicious emails
Scammers often use email to trick seniors into giving away personal and financial information. Be cautious of emails that ask for sensitive information, such as your Social Security number or credit card details. Remember, banks, IRS, or even government-related information like welfare schemes are some of the words used by hackers to create a sense of fear. As a rule of thumb, call your local office to verify if the email was sent by the government office or bank before you take any action.
Also, beware of email offers and deals that seem too good to be true. Be particularly cautious of emails that appear to be from well-known organizations, such as banks or government agencies, as scammers often impersonate these entities. Look out for the language. If the email has grammar mistakes and a tone of urgency, it’s most likely a scam.
Online Safety Tip #2: Don’t click on links or download attachments
If you receive an email that contains a link or attachment, be cautious before clicking on it. Links and attachments can be used to install malware on your computer or direct you to fake websites designed to steal your personal information. Before clicking on any links or downloading attachments, make sure the email is from a trusted source and that you were expecting it.
Online Safety Tip #3: Use a strong password and two-factor authentication
Make sure your email password is strong and difficult to guess. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid using common words or phrases. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of email safety. This will require a code sent to your phone or email to log in to your account.
Online Safety Tip #4: Keep your software and antivirus up to date
Keeping your software and antivirus up-to-date is important for email safety. Make sure you have the latest version of your email client and antivirus software installed. This will help protect your computer from viruses and other malware that could compromise your personal information
Online Safety Tip #5: Be cautious of public Wi-Fi networks
Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access your email, as these networks are often unsecured and can be easily hacked. If you need to access your email while out in public, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection and protect your personal information.
In all, email is an important tool for seniors, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to protect yourself.
We hope this five-part series was a positive step forward in protecting your online identity.
If you have any questions about securing your passwords or believe your device has been hacked, call us right away at (480) 576-5833.
At Threat Alliance, we specialize in cybersecurity solutions for individuals and small businesses and can help keep you safe online.
To know how protected you are, take our readiness test.