ARLINGTON, VA / ACCESSWIRE / December 17, 2020 / When you think of cybersecurity threats, you probably think about hackers on keyboards breaking into secured government installations or stealing priceless corporate secrets. As a cybersecurity expert, James Feldkamp has helped governments and other organizations defend themselves from elite hackers and the like. Yet one of the things that keeps James Feldkamp up at night isn't advanced espionage but instead scammers in mundane call centers targeting senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.
"Right now, scammers targeting senior citizens and others are one of the biggest cybersecurity threats in the world," James Feldkamp states. "And unlike the U.S. government, your average senior citizen can't hire a world-class team of cybersecurity experts."
The Senate Special Committee on Aging reported that in 2018 senior citizens lost nearly $3 billion dollars to scammers. Often, scammers aren't hackers using advanced technology to break into databases or anything like that. Instead, they're social engineers who convince people to hand over information.
"The mind often conjures shady people writing long lines of code to break into secured websites and the like," James Feldkamp says. "Often, however, scammers are people sitting in call centers or at home, trying to convince vulnerable people that they're tech support staff, or the IRS, or whoever else. They then convince the person to pay them or hand over vital information like social security numbers."
So how do you prevent people from getting scammed? James Feldkamp believes clear communication is the vital first step.
"First, try to communicate with elderly people under your care and let them know about the risks," James Feldkamp says. "Of course, often they still won't understand the full extent of the risks, or they may not possess the mental faculties to truly understand."
It may be impossible to convey the dangers to someone with Alzheimer's Disease or facing other challenges. In these situations, however, communication and constant monitoring remain important. Setting up joint bank accounts so you can monitor your parent's finances is smart. So too is setting up and getting access to their emails so you can watch out for scams.
James Feldkamp Offers Tech Advice for Protecting the Elderly
"When possible, you want to personally keep a close eye on an elderly person's bank account, email, phone, and the like," James Feldkamp suggests. "Some email services, like Gmail, are better at blocking spam. Joint bank accounts with daily spending limits are also smart and can prevent an elderly person from losing large sums of money. Also, you can opt-out of direct advertising mailers, which is wise."
As for computer viruses and the like, James Feldkamp suggests making sure that you use antivirus software, install regular updates, and take other precautions.
"Always make sure the senior citizen's computer is up-to-date," James Feldkamp urges. "Also, when it comes to elderly users, some systems may be a bit safer. A Mac, Chrome OS, or even a Linux laptop may be safest for an elderly user."
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SOURCE: James Feldkamp