That’s a question that many may be asking. After all, don’t cyberattacks just hit businesses? Not necessarily! According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), in 2020 alone, “The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 105,301 complaints from people age 60 and over, with losses exceeding $966 million.”

The high cost of cybercrime and seniors.

Consider these numbers: cybercrime cost Americans over 50 nearly $3 billion in 2021—an increase of 62% from the previous year. Yet what exactly is cybercrime? It”s criminal activities carried out via computers or the Internet—through fraudulent phone calls and phishing attempts via email, for instance. Phishing is a fraudulent practice of sending emails that appear to be from reputable companies in order to get you to reveal personal information. If you click on any of the links or attachments in the email, you give the fraudster access to passwords, credit card numbers and even banking information.

Popular grandparent scam.

An especially popular scam with seniors called “grandparent scams” uses one of your relative’s phone numbers and sends a message asking for money for medical emergency or textbooks. They simply check out your Facebook or Instagram postings to get information on you and your family and craft a very believable message. Unfortunately, time after time, seniors fall for it. The proof is in these numbers: the average loss from cybercrime is $426 for victims in their 60s, $635 among 70-somethings, and $1,300 among those in their 80s.

How to avoid being a victim of cybercrime.

There is a great deal you can do to give those fraudsters a run for their money! Simply follow these simple guidelines. Don”t click or respond to suspicious links, attachments, phone calls or pop-up messages. If you”re not sure about an email or a link in an email, err on the side of caution. Delete the email—fast! If you get a phone call with a Caller ID you don’t recognize—even if it”s similar to your current or former phone number or location—let it go to voicemail. Listen to the message. If you still don”t recognize the caller, delete the phone call and possibly even block the phone number. The bottom line is to stay alert and you can help from becoming a statistic!