One e-mail is from your bank, asking you to “click here” to update your account information, and another is from Canada Revenue Agency, telling you that you owe the government money—but both are in fact from cyber scammers, online thieves out to steal your private information or your money.
Thousands of Canadians every year fall victim to online scams, according to the RCMP, losing their retirement savings and even their homes. More than three of five seniors in Canada and the United States have been targeted by—or fallen victim to—an online scam, according to a 2016 Home Instead, Inc., survey, and fewer than 32 per cent of those surveyed said they felt “very confident” that they were safe online.
What can you do to protect yourself other than develop a healthy dose of skepticism? Educate yourself. Protect Seniors Online is a new website developed by Home Instead Senior Care with input from Public Safety Canada that will help you identify online scams and stay safe online.
Information on the site covers everything from the “Top 5 Hottest Senior Cyber Scams” and “Online Dating: Keep Yourself Safe” to signs that a family member might be targeting you and how to spot an online game that’s really out to steal your personal data. Videos provide security tips covering e-mail, social media, and effective (and ineffective) passwords.
If you think you’re already pretty cyber savvy, take the quiz on the site’s homepage and you may well think again.
By Lola Augustine Brown