You may have thought your digital identity was safe and not a likely target of a cybercriminal until one day, the bank calls wondering if purchases made at a store that you have never been to, 2,000 miles away, were made by you. Every day, similar scenarios play out for unsuspecting victims across the country and the world. Cyber scams and other cybercrimes have proven to be an escalating problem that requires people to be especially vigilant when using electronic devices.
Senior citizens, in particular, may be an attractive target for cybercrime because thieves may assume that they are not as technologically savvy or that they are easier to manipulate and convince to part with their money. According to Morgan Stanley, senior citizens lost an estimated $1.7 billion from cybercrime last year alone. [i]
It could be helpful to enlist the assistance of a financial professional who can help monitor your retirement and investment accounts to help eschew malicious behavior from cybercriminals. We want to share several ways seniors can work to circumvent falling victim to a cyber-predator.
6 Precautionary Measures to Help Seniors Identify and Avoid Cybercrime
Use a strong password – Safeguard access to your electronic devices and accounts with a secure password. Do not share this passcode with anybody you do not know or trust.
Enable multi-factor authentication – In many cases, you can turn on a second layer of defense via multi-factor authentication. A two-factor authentication process may require a fingerprint or facial scan (biometric login) and a one-time code that gets sent to your phone. [ii]
Ensure cybersecurity software is installed and up-to-date – Having proper protection software can thwart malware attacks, viruses, or other malicious attempts from criminals to infiltrate your computer and steal your information.
Avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots – When you are in a public space, like a bookstore or café, it is tempting to use the free Wi-Fi. However, this is not a secure place to perform actions online like financial transactions, banking, or even shopping because criminals may be able to steal your information.
Don’t just click – Pay close attention before clicking on anything. Where did the email or link come from? Sometimes criminals will send you emails or texts pretending to be a family member or friend. If you are unsure, call that person on the phone, and ask them if they sent you an electronic message.
Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Encryption technology using a VPN can be a powerful measure that can shield your information from being seen by the government, social media, cybercriminals, search engines, and even your service provider. A VPN is essentially a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. For individuals interested in obtaining a VPN, there are different options available and numerous resources online that can help with selecting the appropriate one. [iii]
In addition to being cautious and taking preventive measures to mitigate the risk of having your information compromised, consider consulting a financial professional who can be another set of eyes on your retirement and investment accounts. It is better to be cyber safe than sorry.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by LPL Marketing Solutions
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