Canadians aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing group of internet users according to Public Safety Canada but they do not always take the precautionary steps to stay safe online. In fact, scammers will often target seniors because of perceived accumulated wealth, and feel that seniors are less likely to report crimes due to fear of embarrassment.
A new survey by Home Instead Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network of franchised businesses that provide in-home care services to seniors, found that two-thirds (64 percent) of Canadian seniors have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. In addition, more than a third (39 percent) report that someone has tried to scam them online, and 29 percent of surveyed seniors have mistakenly downloaded a computer virus.
To help seniors understand their risks online and take steps to protect themselves, the Home Instead Senior Care network collaborated with Public Safety Canada to launch a new public education program, Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.ca. The new program oﬀers free resources and tips to help seniors understand how scammers operate, familiarize themselves with the most common senior scams and take proactive steps to help protect sensitive information.
"For seniors, this is a me in their lives when they should be able to rest assured, trusting that their life’s earnings are protected,” said Greg Bechard of the Home Instead Senior Care oﬃce serving Mississauga. “Unfortunately, we know there are people who violate this trust. That is why we are committed to helping seniors empower themselves by understanding the ways they are at risk online and practicing good cybersecurity habits to protect their information and reduce their chances of being scammed.”
Research shows that more and more seniors are going online – and putting themselves at risk. That me online – coupled with what scammers view as perceived ﬁnancial security and a trusting nature – can make seniors a primary target for scammers.
Seniors are encouraged to take the precautions, compiled by Public Safety Canada’s Get Cyber Safe campaign (GetCyberSafe.ca), the Stop Think and Connect campaign and the Home Instead Senior Care network, to protect themselves online.
“Our hope is that by highlighting the ways scammers can gather sensitive information or hack technology, and providing seniors with cybersecurity solutions aging adults can implement themselves, we can help ensure their personal information, ﬁnancial security and independence stay protected,” explains Enright.
Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care oﬃce for additional resources and to learn how their professional CAREGivers may be able to assist.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.