Technology is woven into the fabric of everyday life, making it essential that users take steps to protect their information and accounts from cybercriminals.
Although cyberscams target people of all ages, the following represent the most likely threats for people who are 50 and older, according to Richard Davey, lead security adviser at USAA, who notes that account takeovers are on the rise industrywide.
An outdated operating system makes users more vulnerable to malware -- malicious software that can wreak havoc in a number of ways, including harnessing your computer to covertly carry out tasks or stealing personal information.
"What a lot of people don't realize is that operating systems are not maintained by their providers forever," Davey says.
He also encourages users to consider upgrading their hardware -- laptop, desktop or device -- when they no longer support current operating systems, which offer better protection from malware.
Weak logon security
Using the same logon information and password for many accounts or failing to periodically change passwords makes accessing your information and accounts a cakewalk for criminals.
USAA members can tighten their logon security with multifactor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to their online banking profiles by requiring a username, PIN and a one-time code generated by a security token.
If you're tempted to avoid registering for website access, think again. If you don't establish secure online profiles, it will be that much easier for someone else to use your personal information to set them up for you, Davey says.
Phishing attacks affect all demographics, Davey says. These are attempts to trick people into divulging passwords or other personal identifying information by masquerading as a legitimate financial institution or company. The scam often comes in the form of an email that, at first glance, seems genuine.
Stop and think before you click on the link. Scams usually lack the personalized details you should expect to find on legitimate communications. If you don't see your full name, last four digits of an account number or other expected information, do not provide any information. Ignore generic communications.
"USAA will always address you by name," Davey says.