Help Older Americans Protect Against Online Scams
Americans young and old are using the Internet and mobile devices on a daily basis. Specifically, older Americans are increasingly utilizing mobile phones, tablets, and wearables to stay connected, informed, and involved with family and friends. This increased connectivity has many advantages, but it also presents a unique set of risks for people over 65.
May is Older Americans Month, a month that celebrates the vitality of older adults and their contributions and achievements. This offers a unique opportunity to talk with the people over 65 in your life about the importance of cybersecurity.
Cyber criminals often target older Americans, believing they are more likely to fall for online scams like phishing, online fraud, and identity theft. For example, a cyber criminal may email an older adult claiming to be a real financial or government organization, like their bank or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), asking for money or for them to share their sensitive personal information.
Learning how to protect your identity and personal information online – and how to spot an online scam – is just as important as understanding how to use the latest technology.
Since cyber criminals are more likely to attack aging Americans, it is critical to equip them with the knowledge to protect themselves online. The Department of Homeland Security encourages older Americans, and all citizens, to follow these three tips to be safe online:
AARP’s Fraud Action Network
Con artists are constantly coming up with new ways to scam you on the Internet. To protect you from cyber criminals, the AARP offers the Fraud Action Network.
By joining this service, you’ll receive email alerts about the latest frauds and scams, access to resources, and tips about avoiding threats.
The AARP Fraud Action Network is free and available to people of all ages, including non-members. Visit the Fraud Action Network to sign up.
- Beware of “free” gifts or prizes. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Most businesses or organizations don’t ask for your personal information over email. Beware of any requests to update or confirm your personal information.
- It is important to add only people you know on social media sites and programs like Facebook and Skype; adding strangers could expose you and your personal information to scammers.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL), a Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign partner, leads the national celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM) each year. The theme for OAM 2017 is “Age Out Loud,” which gives aging a new voice—one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say. For more information on OCM and how to get involved, please visit https://oam.acl.gov/.
For more tips on how to stay safe online, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.
Teacher Appreciation Week
The first week of May marks Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers lead the way for students to exciting careers in a variety of fields. Some of the fastest growing and in-demand careers fall under the Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Skilled cybersecurity professionals are especially needed to help meet the workforce needs of an increasing digital world. Careers in cyber offer students a wide variety of opportunities. It’s important to stimulate interest in these careers at a young age. This is where teachers play a critical role.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to supporting teachers in this effort and providing them with the resources they need to accomplish this goal. Through grant funding from DHS, the curriculum developed by the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) offers professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers. Workshops and professional development trainings are available to teachers to help them bring new STEM and cybersecurity projects, technology, and curriculum into their classrooms.
Teachers touch almost all of our lives – whether you are a parent with children in school, in school yourself, or have a friend or neighbor that is a teacher. DHS encourages you to share the news of the CIC curriculum with the teachers in your life. For more information, please visit https://niccs.us-cert.gov/formal-education/integrating-cybersecurity-classroom.
Partner Spotlight: The International Public Safety Association
The International Public Safety Associate (IPSA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to building a stronger, more integrated public safety community capable of an effective joint response to all public safety incidents. Their mission includes breaking down the cultural barriers and fostering the relationships among all first and allied emergency responders.
As a Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign partner, the IPSA continues to demonstrate itscommitment to raising cybersecurity awareness.
In the past year, they have shared cybersecurity tips and resources on social media, hosted cybersecurity related webinars for public safety, and they participated in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
If you are part of the public safety community, the IPSA encourages you to become a member. Their membership represents law enforcement, fire service, EMS, telecommunicators, emergency management and allied emergency responders. For more information about why and how to join, visit their article in their Public Safety Column “Three Reasons to Become an IPSA Member” or their website at www.joinipsa.org.
If you would like to join IPSA and 360+ non-profit, academic, or government organizations and become a partner of the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-join-campaign or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.