Online safety / November 08, 2019

National Seniors Safety Week, Nov.6-12

Kimberly Bennett

Kimberly Bennett

Sr. Project Manager, TELUS Wise

National Seniors Safety Week

Youth (and their parents) are often a topic of conversation as it pertains to online safety, but Canadian seniors also make up a notable demographic who are embracing our digital world. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Canadians aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing group of Internet users, and according to the 2018 Canadian Internet Use Survey, 71% of seniors report Internet use.

With more seniors going online daily to stay informed, connect with friends and family, seek entertainment, make travel plans and more, and in honour of National Seniors Safety Week, November 6-12, we’re highlighting some helpful safety tips from the newly-updated TELUS Wise seniors guide.

Be vigilant about passwords and enable two-factor authentication

A strong password can help stop someone from hacking into your email, online banking and social networking accounts, but it’s also recommended that you set up two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible to further protect your security online. 2FA requires you to authenticate yourself with something in addition to your password when accessing sensitive accounts online. This extra verification could be something like a unique code that’s sent to your device by text, or a biometric verification like a fingerprint. It may seem daunting or inconvenient to enable 2FA, but it’s a good safety measure to further protect your information and identity.

Be aware of common scams and what they look like

In our digital world, we are at an increased risk of having our personal information stolen and used for criminal purposes and should take precautions to protect ourselves, including knowing how to recognize these common scams:

  • Phishing scams are illegitimate emails and text messages (more specifically, smishing texts) that appear to be from reputable organizations. The intent is to trick recipients into clicking on a link or replying and providing personal information. Legitimate service providers like TELUS, the Canada Revenue Agency, banks, etc. will not ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through non-secure means such as email or text. Watch the TELUS Wise tips to help spot phishing emails video to learn more.
  • Pharming is the act of redirecting someone from a legitimate website to a fraudulent site where your information is not secure. Always ensure that any website where you enter personal or private information has a padlock in the address bar and ‘HTTPS’ at the start of the URL. These are good indicators of a secure website.
  • Formjacking is a term used to describe a scam where information, like credit card and other personal information, you submit into an online form is intercepted between your device and the website you are using. While website owners should take steps to protect their online operations, users can help protect themselves by disabling JavaScript in their browser or by using a browser-based script blocker, such as ScriptSafe for Chrome or NoScript for Firefox.

Symantec reports that in 2018 it blocked over 3.7 million formjacking attempts, and over 1 million of those occurred near the holiday shopping season in November and December.

Be cautious of romance scams

Canadian seniors are increasingly looking for companionship or even a new life partner through online dating websites and apps. While this may not be the case for all seniors, those who are looking for love online should be aware of phony suitors and be extra vigilant in protecting their privacy. Romance fraud was Canada’s number 1 scam in 2018, valued at $22.5 million in terms of money lost, and it is believed that the total cost is even higher.

Below are some tell-tale signs that you're being romanced by a scammer:

  • They claim they live near you, but are currently overseas
  • They cancel plans to video chat or meet in person
  • They profess their love early on before they've met you face-to-face
  • They ask for you to send money to help them with an emergency or to cover their travel expenses to come see you

If you suspect you’re caught up in a romance scam, cut off contact immediately, report the user to the dating/social media site or app, and contact your local law enforcement. Never - under any circumstances - send money to someone you've connected with online.

When it comes to staying safe in our digital world, the more you know, the better protected you can be. For more tips, book a TELUS Wise seniors workshop for your community group or download the TELUS Wise seniors guide.

Tags:
Safe digital habits
Frauds & scams
Seniors & tech
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