Cybersecurity has become a big concern for everyone using the internet, including older adults. According to the Department of Homeland Security, cybersecurity is “general internet safety, which includes protection of anything connected to or accessible by the Internet.”
There’s no question that the Internet has changed how we live in today’s society. We now have email, personal websites and social media that allows us to stay connected to our loved ones. It has also changed how we run businesses, how we shopping and how we manage our finances. The downside to these benefits is that the conveniences we experience come with increased risk.
Many online scammers target older Americans through emails and websites for charitable donations, dating services, auctions, health care and prescription medications. This can seem daunting, but there are ways to avoid being caught up in these types of fraud.
RetireMEDiQ has some tips to protect you against online threats:
1. Avoid suspicious websites
Some tell-tale signs of unsafe websites are poor design and pop-up windows. Only use sites with web addresses beginning with https—not http. The S stands for “secure.”
For online shopping, stick with big-name retailers and familiar payment methods, like PayPal or your credit/debit card (once you’ve deemed the site to be safe).
2. Do not share your Social Security number or Medicare card number
This information (when used in conjunction with your name and passwords) ending up in the wrong hands is your worst nightmare. Guard it!
3. Create strong passwords
Use these tips for creating passwords that are harder to crack—the advice will surprise you! Do not use the same passwords across accounts—this puts you at risk for more threats if your password is stolen.
4. Use antivirus software and update it when prompted
This will help defend your computer against scams, as well as viruses and phishing attempts.
5. Install the latest version of your web browser
Browsers are regularly updated to help catch scams before they impact massive amounts of people.
What Should You Do if You Are Scammed?
Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to scam people, so the chances are high that you will face an online fraudster at some point. However, with our helpful tips in mind, you can avoid these safely! If you end up the victim of a cyber scam, collect the relevant information about your experience and contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to file a complaint. One of their analysts will review and research your case and forward the information about the incident on to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agencies.
It’s essential to put measures in place to protect yourself against the many forms of fraud, which include online fraud, identity theft and Medicare fraud. If you’re interested in ways to further protect yourself, read our blog about preventing Medicare fraud and learn how to avoid identity theft.
If you have questions about Medicare-related fraud, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-877-222-1942 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are new to Medicare and have questions about how to enroll or how to protect yourself proactively against scams, contact us at 1-866-600-5638 or email@example.com.