Seniors a target for online scams
As Internet fraud continues to plague the web, seniors remain a vulnerable target for online scams.
Brian McSheffrey was skeptical when he received an email claiming to be SaskTel.
“I fell victim to this temptation to sort of click on it, and I clicked on it, and after I realized that it was phishing,” McSheffrey, who is 80, said.
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It asked him for personal information, and before long he knew he was the target of an online scam.
“I backed out before I got too far into it. But it took me about a week to get all my passwords changed and things like that. So I’ve run scared ever since.”
Canadians aged 65 and older are the fastest growing group of Internet users.
To help educate their clients, Home Instead Senior Care launched a quiz about about online scams.
“The reports that we got from our surveys were that people will respond to some email and then regret it,” director Greg Charyna said.
“If something does go wrong they feel a shame of ‘I did this.’ And there’s a lack of reporting, or perhaps an embarrassment factor and we want to try and help folks avoid those things.”
Online scams can be disguised in different ways, according to tech expert Albert Jame.
“They can get you through email, they can get you through just a prompt box, or if you’re on a bridge site it’ll say ‘oh you’ve won this much, just enter your information here,'” said Jame, who works at Zu in Saskatoon.
“They can know your name, they can know your child’s name, they can know your family members as well. So they can kind of pose and disguise themselves as different people.”
Programs around the city teach seniors about using the Internet safely.
The Saskatoon Public Library offers a weekly class that uses iPads as a teaching tool.
“In terms of safety, things like making sure you change your passwords frequently. That you have different passwords for different things. That you don’t give out your credit card information all willy-nilly online. That kind of thing,” coordinator Shannon Swekla exlained.
McSheffrey continues to use the Internet every day to check emails and stay in touch with family, but is now a lot more careful.
“I’m firmly into the Internet and into computers so I guess I take the chance, but I’m a lot more weary than I was about it.”
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