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Stand up for Old People

Quite often, we pick up newspapers and magazines or turn on the television and hear about scammers taking advantage of seniors. How they were duped out of their fortunes, how they gullibly stepped into a fraud, or how they were maliciously swindled.

I think it is time to set the record straight because the message I keep hearing is seniors are susceptible, naive and very technologically challenged. This is about as far from the truth as anything can be.

I have many friends who are seniors and can spin circles around most of us, when it comes to technology. I will admit the previous generation, those who were introduced to the computer age after 50, were slower to adapt. I am sure their parents had the same issue with automobiles. Today’s seniors, however, have had access to desktop computers since 1980. Making most of them 20-40 years of age when they first typed on keyboards.

A recent survey, conducted by Avast, found the people most likely to fall for fraud are millennials. For those still confused by the terminology, Generation X are people born between 1966 and 1980. Generation Y, known as millennials, are those born between 1981 and 1996. Generation Z are people born between 1997 and 2012, and Generation Alpha is anyone born after 2013.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, the following percentages admitted to falling victim to scams: 18-24 year olds: 32 percent, 24-34 year olds: 49 percent, 35-44 year olds: 41 percent, 45-54 year olds: 33 percent and those over 55 (our so called seniors) came in at 24 percent.

Surprised? I sure was. The reason, however, makes sense; millennials are raised on technology, from the moment their parents received CD-Roms in the mail, to being glued to phones. They are, consequently, more technically sloppy and fail to read everything thoroughly, hence falling victim to scammers.

Regardless of your age, if you have been a victim of a scam, remember this: It is the scammer’s job (literally) to scam you. They spend the same, if not more, time on their objective as you spend at your job. Their goals are to constantly come up with new ways to trick you into handing over your hard-earned dollars.

The targets are everyone, not just seniors. In fact, the over-55 crowd are the least likely to be scammed by technical predators. I will sign off now, as I have to respond to an email from Nigeria, where someone has left me 4 million dollars!

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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