Tech-Savvy Boomers Must Keep Privacy, Security in Mind

Julia Little  |  December 10, 2012

The baby boomer generation has always been open to change, a characteristic that is still evident as they enter their senior years. Today's older adults are eager to stay on pace with their younger counterparts in terms of technology, which is why many assisted living communities offer internet access and classes for residents who want to keep up with the latest gadgets. But a new study from AVG Technologies finds that while boomers have embraced technology, many are uninformed about basic security and privacy techniques to keep their identities safe.

Researchers interviewed a group of 1,300 adults between the ages of 46 and 64 about their use of technology and the measures they have taken to keep their devices safe. They found that the majority of older adults own desktop computers, and 61 of them percent use laptops. Around 30 percent of baby boomers own a smartphone, and 20 percent shop online using a tablet computer.

Unfortunately, older adults may be missing out on some of the opportunities the web offers to help protect their identities and keep finances secure. Around 65 percent of respondents said they don't check their online banking statements more than once a week. Keeping an eye on bank statements can help seniors identify fraudulent purchases quickly.

Seniors who use mobile devices should also take steps to keep ward off viruses, hackers and identity theft. Around 60 percent of survey respondents said they don't use a password to protect their cell phone, and another 20 percent said they have shared their password with at least one other person.

Baby boomers must be especially careful when it comes to technology safety, as they can be seen as targets by scammers. "Some of the better attackers know exactly who they are dealing with and will view baby boomers as being deficient in online safety skills," explained J.R. 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."

AVG offers tips for boomers who want to make sure their gadgets are as protected as possible. It's important to change passwords frequently and to never share them with others. Keep data backed up, particularly on mobile devices. Seniors can ask relatives or staff at their retirement communities for advice on the best ways to store personal data safely.

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