Monday, January 11, 2016

Internet Safety for Seniors - YES!



I was recently invited to speak to the senior citizens of the Sunrise Bay Adult Community in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.  Of course, I accepted! I thought I would have had a hard time thinking of a topic to speak about, but then I thought of my clients and how some of them were scammed, so I decided to present on Internet Safety.

First, I introduced myself and told them my roles, responsibilities, and credentials as a Technology Consultant, a Technology Integration Coach, and my experience as a Google Certified Trainer.  I wanted them to realize that I deal with many people of all ages, and that I was a person who they can trust and connect with.   

I opened up with two quotes:
  1. "Many scammers target older Americans via emails and websites for charitable donations, dating   services, auctions, health care and prescription medications."
  2. "Baby boomers embrace new technologies 20 times faster than members of Gen Y, including social sites, podcasts, and blogs."
Both of these quotes opened up a conversation about trustworthiness, the generation gap, and work ethnic.  It was a great ice breaker and conversation to engage the audience.


I went over many Internet safety topics such as:
  • Safety measures for computers, laptops and action steps recommended
  • Safety measures for emails, personal accounts, and action steps recommended
  • Protection of  private information 
  • Action steps to take if you become a victim
Most of the seniors in the audience had computers or laptops, so they were aware of many references I made, such as Norton, McAfee, MalwareBytes, email, passwords, browser, sign out, exiting the Internet and more.   Many of them asked me questions about handling spam mail.  

It was important to go over all of these topics, but I focused on scams, which includes phishing, phone scams, detections and action steps. Plus, I spoke about remote logins, and how I strongly discourage it.  I encouraged them to ask a lot of questions, and to contact a trusted person to confirm any issue.

The classic example, if someone contacts you via phone, or email and you don't think it sounds legit, chances are you are right!  Having common sense and knowledge is the best shield of defense.  The "IRS" or "Microsoft" will NEVER call you!  Just hang up the phone or delete the email!  Remember, criminals want your money!  

Although, it may be difficult to spot a phishing scam or the person who contact you may sound convincing, it always comes down to having common sense.  My motto for the session was "Knowledge is Power!"  Having knowledge and an awareness of pop-ups, malware, viruses, suspicious emails, phone calls and computer behavior will help protect your computer, information, and keep you safe on the Internet.  

If you do become a victim of a scam, you should contact:
  • the financial institution 
  • the Social Security Administration, 1-800-269-0271
  • the Internal Revenue Service, 1-800-829-0433
  • the Federal Trade Commission, 1-877-438-4338, or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
  • a professional to inspect your computer
In spite of the fact that it is important to educate our children in K-12 schools about digital citizenship and privacy, we must also educate older Americans as well.  They need to be aware of the latest trends and/or scams in technology because many of them use it to communicate with their family via email or social media.  

It was a great pleasure to speak with the senior citizens of the Sunrise Bay Adult Community in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.  My goal for the day was to bring awareness and my hope was to help at least one person in the audience.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speaking with you and welcoming me today!   

1  Homeland Security https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Cybersecurity%20for%20Older%20Americans_0.pdf
2 Accenture

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