Just as your fraternal organization faces cyber liability risks, so do your members.

In fact, the Senate passed the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act in 2021 to create an advisory group to educate consumers about scams, improve industry fraud-prevention training, develop better ways to stop scams before they happen and expand fraud prevention research.

And certain citizens may be impacted more than others. According to The Special Committee on Aging, the total impact of scams and other financial abuses that affect older adults is largely underreported but studies estimate the costs to be in the billions.

To protect your senior members, it’s important to understand your cyber liability risks and know how to protect against them.

Common cyber risks your members may face

While this is not a comprehensive list, being protected against these common scams is a good start for internet users of all ages:

  • Identity theft—If cyber criminals get ahold of personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, mailing address or credit card number, you could get bills for things you didn’t buy or services you didn’t get. Your bank account might have withdrawals you didn’t make.
  • Imposter scams—Some of the most common scams are cyber criminals pretending to be a trusted source, whether it’s a government official or a loved one.
    • IRS imposter scams—Scammers often use the excuse of unpaid taxes with extensive threats if immediate payment is not issued. The IRS will never ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers or ask for credit card information online.
    • Family scams—You may receive an email or social media message asking for money for bail or a medical emergency. It may even appear to come from your loved one’s real account.
  • Health care scams—You receive communication saying your health insurance or Medicare card is expired and that you must provide your Social Security number or other financial information to receive a new card.
  • Winnings scams—You receive communication about winning a big prize, whether it be a trip, lottery or sweepstakes. Often, these scams are incredibly urgent and there is a fee or taxes to pay before you can collect your winnings.

How your members can improve their cybersecurity

General caution and common sense can help your members avoid most online scams. Share these tips with your members to improve their cybersecurity.

  1. Ask for help

First and foremost, members should look to trusted resources, family and friends for guidance. There are plenty of trustworthy organizations dedicated to online safety, such as the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice, Connect Safely, the AARP, and more.

Often family members and friends can help reset passwords, install important security updates, monitor your financial accounts and be a good sounding board if something seems suspicious.

  1. Use strong passwords

Using strong passwords for your accounts is a great start to being safe online. The strongest passwords combine uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Eight to twelve characters is a good length, but longer is always better.

Don’t use nicknames, birthdays or ordinary words in the dictionary. Avoid using old passwords as they may be compromised.

  1. Never share personal data

Be wary of emails or websites that require your social security number, phone number, date of birth or other personal information, as that data can be used to commit identity theft.

Another common way cybercriminals commit identity theft is by monitoring social media. You may see posts in your feed that seem like harmless fun—asking the viewer to comment with their favorite pet’s name or their high school mascot. However, these answers in the hands of a cybercriminal can result in identity theft.

  1. Be careful connecting with unknown people

Whether trying online dating or accepting random friend requests on social media, be cautious when communicating with unknown people.

The FBI warns internet users to beware of people who claim to be from the U.S. but often travel or work overseas often. You can also look for abnormalities in the way a person writes and the type of grammar and words they use. Watch out for people who pressure you to move your communication to email to text messaging.

If online dating, avoid people who profess their love too quickly, share personal struggles too soon, and those who are never able to meet face-to-face.

  1. Think twice before acting

The natural response to an urgent email or message is to open the  communication and complete the request. However, it is critical to think twice before clicking links found in urgent emails, especially in reference to your finances.

Often, a scam will have typos or bad grammar in the messaging, but not always. Your safest bet is to call the organization to confirm if their communication was authentic.

Cyber support from Lockton Affinity

Cyber security can be a lot to wrap your mind around, but Lockton Affinity can help. If you have questions on best practices for your members, how to improve your organization’s security practices or how to find Cyber Liability coverage, give us a call at (866) 836-3373.