For police services

Cybersafety for Seniors: Essential Elements for Police Services To Know

Cybersafety is crucial part of being online for anyone, but especially for seniors who are more vulnerable to online scams. This resource aims to equip police service members with essential cybersafety knowledge to help seniors protect their personal information and financial assets. Learn to navigate the internet safely, recognize common scams, and avoid harmful advice.

  • Rethinking Common Cybersafety Advice
  • Recognizing Common Scams
  • Avoid Being Scammed
  • Responding to Scams
teaching cybersecurity to  a group of seniors
police services seniors checklist

Check Out our Downloadable Checklist Resource!

This checklist highlights the key points for police service members to cover when instructing seniors about online safety, covering the main points of the above resource. Download and use this checklist as a resource for effective cybersafety education.

Rethinking Common Cybersafety Advice for Seniors

Ensuring the cybersecurity of seniors is crucial, but there is a lot of advice out there that is actually doing more harm than good.
Here, we will define a common piece of misleading advice, and then a more constructive and effective option to go with instead.

Why It’s Misleading: Simply using a strong password is not enough if it is reused across multiple sites.

Better Practice: Use a password manager to create and store unique, complex passwords for each account. This way, you don’t have to remember multiple strong passwords. Change passwords only if there is evidence of a breach or suspected compromise and use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for additional security.

Why It’s Misleading: Phishing emails often appear to come from known or trusted sources. Scammers can mimic email addresses and often send emails from seemingly legitimate contacts.
Better Practice: Learn to recognize suspicious elements within emails, such as unexpected attachments, links, or requests for personal information. When in doubt, contact the sender directly through a verified method, like discussed above in Be Secure.

Why It’s Misleading: This does not address more significant security threats.
Better Practice: Focus on secure browsing habits, such as using encrypted connections (HTTPS), keeping important sites bookmarked, and being cautious about sharing personal information online.

Why It’s Misleading: This limits access to convenient services.
Better Practice: Learn to identify secure websites (look for HTTPS, check for reviews) and use trusted payment methods.

Why It’s Misleading: This is limiting and impractical.
Better Practice: Verify the credibility of new websites by looking for secure connections, reading reviews, and ensuring the site is reputable.

Why It’s Misleading: This can isolate seniors from family and friends. Better Practice: Set privacy settings, recognize suspicious friend requests or messages, and be cautious about sharing personal information.

Why It’s Misleading: Links are essential for navigating the internet. Better Practice: Hover over links to preview URLs. Be aware of links that have unusual or misspelled domain names, long or complex URLs, lack of “https://”, odd path names, special characters, URL shorteners, mismatched link text, pop-ups or redirects, and those from unfamiliar or generic email sources.

Why It’s Misleading: Not all pop-ups are harmful; some are legitimate. Better Practice: Download ad-blockers that can help stop harmful pop ups, only allow them on sites you trust like your email, calendar, or other trusted websites.

Why It’s Misleading: Avoiding online banking is impractical and inconvenient. Better Practice: Secure online banking practices include using strong and complex passwords saved in a password manager, enabling MFA, and regularly monitoring accounts for suspicious activity.

Why It’s Misleading: Some may suggest manually typing website URLs as a safer practice. However, manually typing URLs increases the risk of mistyping or falling victim to phishing sites mimicking legitimate ones. Better Practice: Use Bookmarks for frequently visited sites instead of relying on memory or searching each time you want to visit a website. Bookmarks allow you to save and organize sites in one easily accessible location. By bookmarking trusted websites, like your bank or credit card company, you can avoid the risk of mistyping URLs or falling for phishing scams that can pop up in search results.

Recognizing Common Scams

Knowing how to recognize different types of scams is crucial for seniors because scams are evolving so quickly. It is not as obvious as it once was to recognize scams, like with poor grammar or improper spelling. Scams are very sophisticated and meant to trick you.

We also know scammers often target more vulnerable people, so seniors who may not have extensive technological or online experience may be targeted and taken advantage of.

Check out the different types of scams below:

police resources for seniors

How to Avoid Being Scammed

Aiding seniors in responding to scams is a crucial part of the process, because even when we learn about cybersafety, scams are still very common and can happen to anyone. With any of these scams, once we recognize the types; it is crucial to know how to avoid them in the future. So, use the 4-Point Scam Shield, as a framework for the 4 steps we can take to avoid any potential scams.

  • Avoid sharing personal or financial information online at all, unless you are absolutely sure of the recipient’s identity.
  • Do this especially before sending any personal information, bank details, or money to anyone.
  • Contact the company or individual directly using known contact information.
  • Check the organization’s official website for contact details.
  • If your bank wants to confirm your information, you can call them directly and check.
  • If you really do need to verify personal information with your bank, or a family member does need help, they would not have issues with you seeking verification details and double-checking information.
  • Be wary of requests for any online payments, such as e-transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.
  • If something feels wrong or too good to be true, proceed with caution.
  • Scammers often create a sense of urgency. If they are trying to rush you or scare you, they are doing this to take advantage of your vulnerability in intense situations like that.
  • Slow down and reflect on the facts you know.
  • Before taking any action, talk to a trusted family member, friend, or advisor about the request. They can provide a second opinion and help you determine if it’s legitimate.
  • Ensure that you are taking proactive steps to protect your personal and financial information.
  • Maintain a healthy level of skepticism while also being confident in your ability to verify and secure your information.

Responding to Scams

Once a scam is identified there are a few immediate actions that should be taken afterwards. Instructing seniors on next steps is a crucial part of keeping them safe, after the scam was attempted. This is also where police services can provide the reporting information for that group of seniors, for their specific region or area. This can include contacts for the local police department, victim services, non-emergency lines, etc.

  • If you receive a suspicious message or call, do not respond or click any links.
  • Call the organization directly, that was trying to contact you, using official contact information.
  • Follow the 4-point shield steps to verify legitimacy.
  • If your information may have been compromised, disconnect from the internet and contact your bank or credit card company immediately.

Safe Online Practice Tips

Spotting Phishing Attempts

Always check the sender’s email address, make sure the address matches the person/organization it’s meant to be from. Still, avoid clicking on unknown links or attachments, unless it is from a trusted source. If you are unsure, connect with the person or organization directly.

Protecting Personal Information

Never share sensitive information online or over the phone unless you are certain of the recipient’s identity. Avoid sharing passwords with anyone and avoid storing them anywhere online, like cloud drives or note taking apps.

Secure Transactions

Always verify the legitimacy of any request for money or personal information, you can do this using the 4-Point Scam Shield steps. Avoid sending money to unfamiliar sources and use secure, traceable payment methods.

4 seniors looking at a tablet

Additional Resources & Education

Key Takeaways:

Reinforce the importance of vigilance, safe practices, and prompt reporting. Emphasize the key points learned throughout, and help them practice those actions of recognizing, reporting, and avoiding. Encourage seniors to secure their devices, and their information online using the resources provided.

Resource Recap Message:

Encourage participants to stay informed, ask for help when needed, and take proactive steps to protect themselves online. Empower them with the confidence to navigate the digital world safely and securely. By focusing on these critical elements, police services can effectively educate seniors on cyber safety, helping them navigate the digital world with confidence and security.

Courses for everyone

Register for our Cybersafety Academy

Welcome to the KnowledgeFlow Cybersafety Academy! Designed with all skill levels in mind, our academy offers a wide range of courses on topics like data privacy, secure online communication and how to spot scams. With simple, easy-to-understand content and practical applications, our platform creates a welcoming learning community. Gain the confidence to navigate the digital world safely and securely.