The senior citizens or the older adults some times find themselves struggling to get acquainted with the digital technology usage and to keep pace with the current trends of the digital world. In current scenario it has been observed that older adults are exposed and vulnerable to the online financial scams and frauds. They become the soft and easy targets for the online scamsters and fraudsters for exploitation. It is therefore extremely essential for them to acquire cybersecurity skills and awareness to mitigate the threats and dangers lurking in online world to protect themselves and their hard earned money in their retiring years.

Some of the most common cyber threats envisaged for the Older Adults or Senior Citizens are:

Phishing, Vishing and Smishing Frauds: The fraudsters trick victims into providing personal details like credit/debit card numbers, passwords, OTP etc. and steal the victims hard earned money in the pretext of offering free gifts/prizes/low-cost medications/card renewal/ KYC verification etc.,

Insurance Policy Fraud:The senior citizens are targeted and defrauded of insurance schemes where relationship manager convinces the victim to buy bunch of policies and finally dupe the victim of his lifetime savings.

Lottery Scams: The fraudster convinces them of winning a lottery for shopping at and presents a post dated cheque to deposit in their account. They convince them to make some sort of fee or tax payment initially.

Social Media Attacks: Hackers create fake accounts to connect to older adults as a friend or grandchildren, to later convince them for parting with money, gifts, vouchers etc.,

Romance/Dating Fraud: The loneliness of older adults is exploited to deceive them into fake relationships and latter pursuade them to for money in some form.

Wallet scams: Scammers find ways to trick people into sharing their UPI ID or other similar account information and such frauds are very hard to track.

Few important safety and security measures for senior citizens

  • Do not give away financial information (OTP/Passwords/ Credit or Debit card details over the telephone or internet.
  • Use telephones with caller identification and do not be tricked by callers disguising themselves to be from banks, institutions, aadhar, paytm etc., asking for your sensitive financial details like OTPs, passwords etc.,
  • Avoid shopping online if your are not familiar with it
  • Visit only known and trustworthy websites and avoid unfamiliar websites, which may have programs that take personal information even without consent.
  • Avoid downloading or opening attachments from unknown sources and opening emails from unknown sources.
  • Remember! Banks or other financial companies will never ask for your username, password or other bank details
  • Avoid making charitable contributions over the telephone.
  • Be suspicious of lottery, offers and free gits and click with care.
  • Avoid using open and unsecured wifi
  • Understand the basics of computer/mobile and internet security.
  • Be careful while using social media accounts, do not share private and personal information publicly online.( phone no.; DoB, address etc.,)
  • Always remember to logout of your computer when you are not using it.
  • Always have a lock/PIN/password/fingerprint to access your mobile
  • Have two factor authentication to prevent hackers from accessing your account
  • In case of any doubts, always have a trusted person to assist and support you on your online activities in especially if you are living alone far from your family

For more details : Cyber Security Awareness for Senior Citizen

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