Anable: Seniors need safe internet surfing practices, too

Written by Suzanne Annable | Cox Communications

We usually worry about kids when it comes to internet security, but what about our parents? A recent study revealed that Boomers and Silent Generations are just as, if not more concerned about online security and privacy than Generation Z.

In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that more than 92,000 victims over the age of 60 lost more than $1.7 billion.

This represents a 74% increase over the losses recorded for 2020. In our digital-first world, it is critical that the Baby Boomer and Silent generations – who are not digital natives – practice safe habits while online.

By nature, the Baby Boomer and Silent generations tend to be more suspicious of the online platforms that track their data. A report by Forrester Research, Inc. That the majority of these two generations do not believe it is acceptable for companies to track their activities across sites in order to receive more relevant advertisements. But what about information they don’t know that is being tracked?

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If you belong to the Baby Boomer or Silent Generations or are a family member or carer of someone from these generations, make sure you know how to stay safe and protect your valuable and private information while using the Internet.

One of the most infamous methods hackers use online to access your information is to send emails or text messages pretending to be someone else. This is phishing. These messages may appear to be from a friend, family member, or unknown person claiming that you won a contest. They will typically convey a sense of urgency to get their victims to act quickly and respond to personal information such as their Social Security Number (SSN) or bank account numbers.

If you know to be wary of these types of messages, you can help prevent others from falling into phishing schemes and losing information privacy or money.

The critical first step to protecting valuable information online is making sure your password is strong enough. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a strong password, let alone remember it.

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Writing a password on a sticky note is not secure and can be frustrating when the password is needed right away. AARP recommends password manager applications. These apps help users create strong passwords, store and recall passwords, and there are a variety of popular password managers — such as Keeper, Sticky Password, Last Pass, Dashlane, RoboForm, 1Password, True Key, and ZOHO Vault — that are easy to use and free to use. To start.

Two-factor authentication is an excellent security tool and is widely available through most websites and apps that require a password. Cox offers this option to our online customers. With two-factor authentication, a user is sent a one-time code to their messages or other networked device that they must enter into the site or app they are connecting to to continue.

Another tip is to see if your passwords have actually been stolen. Even if you’ve done your best to protect your passwords, sometimes you can’t prevent your passwords from being leaked. A common reason for this is data breaches. But there are several resources you can check to see if any of your passwords have been compromised, such as Google Password Checkup and Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor.

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Let’s not forget about social media. It’s fun to scroll through your feed and post pictures or statuses, but you might be giving away more information than you realize. Age Safe America warns against oversharing on social media, which can be caused by posting photos or statuses containing information such as your home address or workplace. Online fun quizzes, popular on Facebook, also pose a potential risk because they may ask you to share your name, gender, year of birth, etc.

The Internet is a great place to research, keep up with friends and family, and stay up to date on current events.

It’s important to stay safe while browsing the web and we make sure our loved ones know how to protect themselves too.

Susan Annable is Vice President of Cox Communications Phoenix Market.


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