AARP has announced free online resources from the AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) are now available to consumers who would like to test cyber security vulnerability for themselves or family members during the month of October, designated as national Cyber Security Awareness Month. A cyber security survey conducted by the FWN indicates a high incidence of risky online behaviors with bank and credit card accounts, smartphones and public Wi-Fi use.
“AARP supports the Department of Homeland Security’s goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident,” said Nancy LeaMond, Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer, AARP. “The Fraud Watch Network’s recent survey verifies that too many Americans are neglecting cyber security and should take measures to decrease their susceptibility to malicious cyber activity.”
The Fraud Watch Network provides free scam alerts, fraud tips and educational content. Among its evaluative tools which help users test their cyber security awareness are:
- An online Wi-Fi Security Quiz, which allows users to determine whether they are leaving their portable devices vulnerable to hackers.
- A fun “Catch the Con” video quiz, designed by AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador and renowned security expert Frank Abagnale, which helps you learn about con artists’ favorite tactics.
Specifics of the FWN’s 2015 cyber security survey revealing a high incidence of risky online behaviors include:
- Considerably more than half of those surveyed said they have not set up online access to monitor their bank accounts (61%) and credit card accounts (71%).
- More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said they have used unsecure public Wi-Fi networks to do banking or make credit card purchases.
- One of four Smartphone users (26%) has not programmed the phone with a passcode.
Because ubiquitous free public Wi-Fi networks can be particularly hazardous environments for cyber scams, AARP has launched a “Watch Your Wi-Fi” campaign. Visit Aarp.org/WatchYourWiFi to learn about “The Four Things Never to Do on Public Wi-Fi,” along with a description of the cyber con artists’ favorite techniques, including the “Man in the Middle Attack” and the “Evil Twin Attack.”
And while evaluating and enhancing your cyber security protections and activities is vital, experts also remind you to be mindful of certain low-tech behaviors which can put you at risk for identity theft. These include: using an unlocked mailbox, failing to shred important documents and credit cards and leaving valuable papers, computers or other portable devices in your car.
For more information on identity theft scams – high-tech and low-tech – visit Aarp.org/FraudWatchNetwork.