By Susan Anable | Cox Communications

We usually worry about kids when it comes to internet safety, but what about our parents? A recent study found that Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation worry about online security and privacy as much, if not more than Gen Z.

In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that more than 92,000 victims over the age of 60 lost more than $1.7 billion.

This represents a 74% increase from the losses reported in 2020. In our digital world, it is crucial that baby boomers and silent generations – who are not digital natives – adopt safe habits when they are online. line.

Inherently, Baby Boomer and Silent generations tend to be more skeptical of online platforms that track their data. A report from Forrester Research, Inc. showed us that the majority of these two generations do not believe it is acceptable for companies to track their activities on sites in order to receive more relevant advertisements. But what about information they don’t know is being tracked?

If you belong to the Baby Boomers or Silent Generations or if you are a loved one or caregiver to someone from those generations, make sure you know how to stay safe and protect your valuable private information on the Internet.

A nefarious tactic that online hackers use to gain access to your information is to send emails or text messages pretending to be someone else. It’s phishing. These messages may appear to be from a friend, family member, or stranger claiming that you won a contest. They will usually convey a sense of urgency to get their victims to act quickly and respond with personal information such as their social security number (SSN) or bank account numbers.

If you know you need to be careful of these types of messages, you can help prevent others from falling into the trap of phishing and losing confidential information or money.

A crucial first step in protecting valuable information online is to make sure your password is strong enough. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a strong password, let alone remember it.

Writing a password on a sticky note is insecure and can be frustrating when the password is needed immediately. AARP recommends using password manager apps. These apps help users create strong passwords, store and recall passwords and there are a variety of popular password managers – like Keeper, Sticky Password, Last Pass, Dashlane, RoboForm, 1 Password , True Key and ZOHO Vault – which are easy to use. use and free to start.

Two-factor authentication is a great security tool and widely available on most sites and apps that require a password. Cox offers this option to our Internet customers. With two-factor authentication, the user receives a one-time code in their messages or on another networked device that they must enter on the site or app they are logging into to continue.

Another tip is to find out if your passwords have ever been stolen. Even if you’ve done all you can to protect your passwords, sometimes you can’t prevent your passwords from leaking. A common reason for this is data breach. But there are several resources you can check to see if any of your passwords have been compromised, such as Google Password Checkup and Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor.

Let’s not forget social networks. It’s fun to scroll through your feed and post photos or statuses, but you may be giving away more information than you think. Age Safe America warns not to over-share on social media, which can happen by posting photos or statuses that contain information such as your home address or work location. Funny online quizzes, which are common on Facebook, also pose a potential danger as they may ask you to share your name, gender, year of birth, etc.

The Internet is a great place to do research, stay in touch with friends and family, and keep up to date with current affairs.

It’s important to stay safe while browsing the web and to make sure our loved ones know how to protect themselves too.

Susan Anable is vice president of market for Cox Communications Phoenix.

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