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  • John Aigner

AVOIDING ONLINE RISK. FOR OLDER ADULTS

Updated: Mar 25, 2023


Online presence can be an intimidating and risky landscape for unwary seniors. Not to be negative, because there is huge potential benefit for seniors, but it is important that they become aware of the potential pitfalls and learn how to protect themselves from exploitation.

  1. Identity theft: As you age you become more vulnerable to identity theft, which occurs when someone steals tour personal information, such as their Social Security number or credit card information, and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes.

2. Scams: Older adults are often targeted by scammers who use a variety of tactics, such as fake lottery or sweepstakes, charity scams, or investment scams, to trick them into giving away their money or personal information.

3. Malware and viruses: Older adults may be more susceptible to downloading malware or viruses onto their computer or mobile device, which can lead to data theft, identity theft, or other security breaches.

4. Online predators: Older adults may be at risk of online predators who use social media, online chat rooms, or other online platforms to target vulnerable individuals.

5. Financial exploitation: Older adults may be at risk of financial exploitation, which occurs when someone misuses or steals their money, property, or assets.

6. Cyberbullying: Older adults may be victims of cyberbullying, which can include harassment, threats, or other forms of abuse through social media, email, or other online platforms.

7. Phishing scams: Older adults may be more vulnerable to phishing scams, which occur when scammers impersonate a trustworthy source, such as a bank or government agency, and attempt to steal personal information.

8. Online addiction: Older adults may be at risk of developing an online addiction, which can lead to social isolation, decreased physical activity, and other negative consequences.

9. Exposure to inappropriate content: Older adults may inadvertently be exposed to inappropriate or harmful content online, such as pornography or violent images, which can be distressing and lead to negative psychological effects.

10. Digital legacy concerns: Older adults may have concerns about their digital legacy, or what will happen to their online accounts and digital assets after they pass away. This can include concerns about identity theft, privacy, and ensuring that their online accounts are properly managed

11. Online dating scams: Older adults may be at risk of online dating scams, where scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps to trick them into sending money or personal information.

12. Online privacy: Older adults may not be aware of the importance of protecting their online privacy, and may inadvertently share personal information or be tracked by online advertisers.

13. Cyberstalking: Older adults may be victims of cyberstalking, where someone uses the internet or other digital means to harass or intimidate them.

14. Online misinformation: Older adults may be at risk of being exposed to false or misleading information online, which can lead to confusion or harm if the information is health-related

15. Technology literacy: Some older adults may not be as familiar with technology or have the same level of technological literacy as younger generations, which can lead to confusion or vulnerability to online scams.

16. Gaming addiction: Older adults may be at risk of developing a gaming addiction, which can lead to social isolation, decreased physical activity, and other negative consequences.

17. Online investment scams: Older adults may be targeted by investment scams that promise high returns on their investments, but are actually fraudulent schemes.

18. Data breaches: Older adults may be affected by data breaches, where their personal information is stolen or compromised, and used for fraudulent purposes.

19. Online prescription scams: Older adults may be targeted by online prescription scams that promise to sell prescription drugs without a prescription, but are actually fraudulent schemes.

20. Social isolation: Older adults may be at risk of social isolation, which can be exacerbated by spending excessive amounts of time online or being unable to access technology.


To minimize these risks to older adults like us, we should take steps to protect our personal information, such as using strong passwords, avoiding sharing personal information online, and being cautious about clicking on links or downloading attachments. We should also be aware of common scams and take steps to protect our financial assets, such as checking their credit report regularly and reviewing their financial statements for any unusual activity. Additionally, it can be helpful for older adults to stay informed about the latest online threats and to seek assistance from trusted sources if they have concerns or questions about their online safety.


In future blogs we will provide articles on additional defenses against many of these digital and online hazards. Check back frequently.

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