Two years ago, Pew Research reported that two-thirds of seniors today are regular on-line computer users. That’s a slice of the pie that has likely grown substantially since then–realistically, how many folks do you know who are not active in cyber space (think email, Facebook, Messenger for example). And as another example of seniors getting in the swing with technology, consider that “37% of U.S. adults say they mostly use a smartphone when accessing the internet.” (1) Whether they’re seniors or not, once they reach that point, they are already using smart phone technology reflexively.
Cap those statistics off with surveys that show 40% of U.S. adults 65 years of age and older use at least one social media site (2), and you see a robust level of acceptance of technology by the senior segment of our population. But what’s also emerging with this trend is a growing wave of elder fraud…crimes perpetrated against seniors in a variety of ways, many of which involve technology. “Elder fraud is a serious and growing threat,” said David Bowdich, acting deputy director of the FBI.(3)
With the ubiquitous world wide web permeating so many aspects of our daily lives and the lives of seniors with a fair amount of time on their hands, it becomes critical that these seniors and the folks supporting them be aware of the vulnerabilities and the steps that can be taken to mitigate them. Our friends at SafetyDectives.com, an organization committed to helping you protect your most valuable data online, have created a document that can be helpful in keeping seniors out of harms’s when traveling the wild, wild roads of cyberspace. It’s titled “The Ultimate Internet Safety Guide for Seniors” and presents quite a bit of food for thought. Check it out here, and let them know your thoughts on the value of this guide.