Anable: Seniors Need Safe Internet Browsing Practices Too

By Susan Anable | Cox Communications

Usually, we worry about children when it comes to internet safety, but what about our parents? A recent study revealed that Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation care just as much, if not more, about online security and privacy than Generation Z.

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

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

Inherently, the Baby Boomer and Silent generations tend to be more skeptical of online platforms that track their data. A Forrester Research, Inc. report showed us that the majority of these two generations don’t think it’s okay for companies to track their activities on sites in order to receive more relevant ads. But what about information they don’t know is being tracked?

If you belong to the Baby Boomers or Silent Generation or are a loved one or caregiver of someone from these generations, make sure you know how to stay safe and protect your valuable and private information while you are on the Internet.

One nefarious tactic online hackers use to access your information is to send emails or text messages posing as someone else. This is phishing. These messages may appear to be from a friend or family member or someone unknown claiming that you have won a contest. They will usually convey a sense of urgency for their victims to act quickly and reply with personal information such as their social security number (SSN) or bank account numbers.

By knowing to be careful with these types of messages, you can help prevent others from falling for phishing schemes and losing information, privacy, or money.

A crucial first step in protecting valuable information online is to make sure your password is strong enough. Sometimes it’s hard to find a strong password, let alone remember it.

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

Two-factor authentication is a great security tool and is widely available on most sites and apps that require a password. Cox offers this option to our Internet customers. With two-factor authentication, the user is sent a unique code to their messages or another networked device that they must enter into the site or app they are connecting with to continue.

Another tip is to find out if your passwords have already been stolen. Even if you’ve worked hard to protect your passwords, sometimes you can’t stop them 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.

Let’s not forget about social media. It’s fun to scroll through your feed and post photos or statuses, but you may be giving away more information than you think. Age Safe America advises against over-sharing on social media, which can occur when posting photos or statuses that contain information like your home or work address. Fun online quizzes, which are common on Facebook, also pose a potential danger because they may ask you to share your name, gender, year of birth, etc.

The Internet is a great place to do 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 make sure our loved ones know how to protect themselves, too.

Susan Anable is the vice president of the Phoenix market for Cox Communications.

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