June 21, 2021
How Your Mom’s New Sandals Make Her Vulnerable: Why we need seniors month all year long!
Did you know that The United Nations has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? I am so pleased by this as it will draw much-needed global attention to the serious physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. That annual loss in the US alone due to the exploitation of aging Americans is estimated at $2.9 billion and growing every year.
For this reason and more, at cyberconIQ we feel strongly that one month dedicated toward appreciation of our worthy elders plus compassion for their suffering is not nearly enough. So this month’s item will kick off a focus area for us going forward across months and years, because the pervasive nature of this problem deserves all of our attention.
Living inside a global pandemic has already made many of us more anxious all the time. Yet, even pre-Covid, many of us sacrificed sleep over our parents’ or other loved ones’ easy susceptibility to devious breaches that could lead to bankruptcy. We realized that all it took was a single click, or a nefarious phone call from a fraudster, or the registration of a fake mortgage on the title of your childhood home, to wipe out a lifetime of hard-won savings. That would make anyone afraid – and for seniors who fall prey, it both imperils and embarrasses them.
Bottom line, things are truly scary regarding the schemes we need to be aware of. It evokes fear. And while our elderly strive valiantly to keep up sufficiently with technology to not feel inept or left out, they often participate in the online world vastly under-equipped and perhaps without the protective instincts they should have. And that is where we come in. We do not want to spread fear; but rather to empower our elderly to be more safely online.
A phishing email is defined as, “A cybercrime that relies on deception to steal confidential information from users and organizations”. Throughout the years, phishing email attacks have become more intricate, enticing, and tougher to spot. To successfully spot a suspicious message in your inbox, all employees must be familiar with all the different forms phishing attacks can take on.
And that brings us to Mom’s new sandals: no, she is not vulnerable because they may vainly be stilettos. Rather, when she bought them, personal data was collected that could unknowingly be used to social engineer her in a future scam. While she shared this information because she wanted the sandals, implicit in her behavior is a trust that the vendors involved who collected her information will keep it safe. Yet, that is false promise that Big Tech would like us to embrace, but which is damaging especially for our seniors. Because technology cannot solve a human problem directly caused by living in a technology-laden world. Rather, humans need to be responsible for solving it for themselves.
So, we work with our seniors to help with this personal responsibility which they cannot default to technology. Instead, to achieve long-term cybersecurity calls upon each of us to become more cyber-aware. That way, we become attackers’ worst nightmare – an informed consumer – easily made more aware of, and very ready to defeat their scams, hacks, and human attacks.
If you detect that our aim is to bring out of the darkness and into the light the lengths scammers will go to dupe an unsuspecting public, you are correct. Planet Earth is both huge and small at the same time. Cybercrooks can invade the heart of our homes in a nanosecond. We are here to do everything in our level power to prevent such dangerous fates from landing smack dab on your parents’ or other elderly relatives’ doorsteps. This plague must stop!
Our vision is this: what if we could offer solutions that would make both you and your folks feel less afraid, more in control, and ultimately more effective at cybersecurity than you ever thought humanly possible? We know we can, and we want to learn how.
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Social Media & PR Lead | mstagaard@cyberconIQ.com | (908) 878-8180