The AARP has released a new report that suggests that elderly Americans are starting to adopt better digital security practices. The organization found that more than half of the respondents who experienced some form of identity fraud had subsequently enrolled in an identity protection or credit monitoring service, while 29 percent had initiated a credit freeze.
Overall, 26 percent of the survey respondents had been victims of identity fraud. The survey polled Americans aged 55 and older, and was put together in collaboration with Javelin Strategy and Research.
Interestingly, the report also found that elderly Americans are very receptive to biometric authentication, even though many are reluctant to change some of their other habits. Ninety percent of the respondents would like to use fingerprint authentication to protect financial and business transactions, and 80 percent believe that facial recognition can be trusted to secure those same applications.
However, 70 percent of those 65 and over still did not want to change a familiar shopping and banking routine after becoming a fraud victim. The results suggest that digital literacy is improving despite the fact that certain behaviors remain quite well entrenched.
“Older Americans are leading more digitally infused lives, with two-thirds using online banking weekly, so it’s encouraging to see that many are taking proactive steps to protect their identity following a data breach,” said AARP Fraud Prevention Program Director Kathy Stokes. She went on to stress the importance of password best practices, and advised people not to reuse the same password on multiple accounts. The report also indicated that elderly citizens should be more wary of phishing scams and other forms of social engineering.
“Criminals are regularly targeting Americans aged 55+ through a combination of sophisticated scams via computer malware and also through more traditional low-tech channels via telephone and U.S. mail,” added Javelin Lead Analyst John Buzzard, who wrote the report. “The combination of high-tech and low-tech strategies unfortunately gives the upper hand to the criminal — not the consumer.”
Several organizations have now warned that fraud rates have gone up as digital traffic has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
October 30, 2020 – by Eric Weiss