Baby Boomers are behind the curve when it comes to safeguarding against identity theft, financial fraud and loss of personal data.
According to a survey by AVG Technologies, Baby Boomers need to become more educated about digital security. Adults between the ages of 46 and 64 make up one-quarter of the U.S. population. Of those, 81% own desktop computers, 61% use laptops and another 30% use smartphones. Twenty percent were found to use tablets to conduct online transactions.
While many of this older generation are willing to use new technologies, many are not aware of the resources available to help protect their identities. Of the 1,300 Baby Boomers surveyed with home Internet access, 65% said they don’t check online banking statements more than once per week and more than 40% use one low-limit credit card for online purchases.
“Some of the better attackers know exactly who they are dealing with and will view Baby Boomers as being deficient in online safety skills,” said JR Smith, CEO of AVG Technologies. “The opportunity to take advantage of them is on the rise; therefore, it’s important for Baby Boomers to familiarize themselves with how to minimize the risk of theft or fraud.”
Some Boomers do take steps to protect their digital identities. The survey found that 39% run manual antivirus scans more than once a month and more than 50% back up their home computer data with external media, such as CDs, jump drives or other personal storage devices.
Nearly 60% of those surveyed do not protect their cell phone with a password; 45% would have to manually reenter data should their phone be lost or stolen, and nearly 20% report at least one other person knows their password.
“Mobile devices have become extremely popular with aging parents and grandparents,” said Smith. “Tablets and smartphones simply make life easier by allowing access to family photos, banking, shopping, and medical records from any location at any time. What they don't know is that public Wi-Fi, for example, makes them extremely vulnerable to data theft. And you don’t have to be a grandpa to leave your iPad in a taxi.”
AVG recommends that Baby Boomers take some simple steps toward protecting their online identities, including changing passwords regularly and keeping them secret from others; using one credit card with a low spending limit for all online purchases; backing up data from your computer or mobile devices onto an external storage device; protecting your mobile devices with antivirus software and be wary of phishing scams. Never click on links in emails from banks or other financial institutions. Go directly to their website and enter login information from their home page.
This article was originally posted at BenefitsPro.com, a sister site of Credit Union Times.