Nearly 97 percent of seniors age 70 and older are using the internet at least once a week to check email, manage money and keep in touch via social media. All this time online is putting them at risk for scams and hacks, including tax fraud. To help seniors understand potential hazards and how to prevent fraud, Home Instead Senior Care® collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to launch a national public education program, Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com. “We understand the stress seniors feel when they perceive their financial security – and their independence – may be at risk,” said Jeff Huber, CEO of Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. “Unfortunately, we know scammers often target seniors. That’s why we’re committed to educating and empowering seniors to proactively protect themselves. Implementing simple cybersecurity best practices can go a long way in helping seniors protect sensitive information and reduce their risks online.”A new survey* by Home Instead found that two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. seniors online have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. More than one-third (38 percent) report that someone has tried to scam them online, and 28 percent of surveyed seniors have mistakenly downloaded a computer virus.Like younger generations, many seniors are using the internet to manage their finances, with 41 percent banking online and more than one-in-four (26 percent) paying bills online. And nearly one-quarter of seniors (21 percent) file their taxes online. As seniors’ finances move online – coupled with what scammers view as perceived financial security and a trusting nature – seniors are a primary target for scammers. Approximately one in 10 seniors (9 percent) said they had been a victim of criminals posing as the IRS and demanding immediate payment of taxes.Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, explains that encouraging seniors to protect themselves online can go a long way in protecting sensitive identity and financial information. “Cybersecurity is about risk reduction. It’s difficult to achieve perfect security. But you can help older adults work to make themselves a more difficult target,” Kaiser said.The Protect Seniors Online program offers free resources and tips to help seniors understand how scammers operate, familiarizes themselves with the most common scams targeted at seniors, and provides proactive steps seniors and caregivers can take to protect sensitive information. The resources include the online “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” quiz to test seniors’ cyber security knowledge.According to the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau, here are five of the hottest cyber scams that older adults need to avoid:
Seniors can test their cybersecurity skills at “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” and view other program resources and tips at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com. Or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office for additional resources and to learn how professional caregivers may be able to assist. Find an office near you by visiting www.homeinstead.com/state/.# # #ABOUT HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CAREFounded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care network provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today this network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises that annually provide more than 50 million hours of care throughout the United States and 12 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. The Home Instead Senior Care network strives to partner with each client and his or her family members to help meet that individual’s needs. Services span the care continuum from providing companionship and personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources. At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while striving to provide superior quality service.
*In October 2016, FleishmanHillard conducted telephone interviews with a random, self-selected sample of 1,003 North American seniors in the United States (503 seniors) and Canada (500 seniors) who use the internet or email more than once a month and own or have access to an internet-capable device.