Why doesn’t the news that more and more over 50s are flocking to Facebook fill me with joy? Sadly it’s because this demographic is most likely to be scammed by cyber criminals.
According to Nielsen, between 2009 and 2011, the number of 50-64 year olds visiting Facebook rose by 84%. And the number of over 65s visiting the site increased by 81% in the same period.
Online security risks
Perhaps it’s because many over 65s didn’t grow up with the internet that makes them particularly vulnerable to the wily ways of online fraudsters.
We get tons of emails from our readers at Which? Computing telling us about their recent brush with online scams. And I also get to speak on the phone to some of our readers who have fallen victim to them.
The worrying thing is that many of them have read our stories, alerting them of their tricks, but still hand out their credit card details.
Is Facebook safe?
Although many of these hazards don’t exist on Facebook, putting your personal details online can make you vulnerable – with some falling into the trap of uploading their phone numbers on to Facebook. This social network can certainly be a safe place to be, as long as you sort out your privacy settings to make sure your personal information isn’t public.
My heart sinks when I have to read yet another letter from a reader who, new to the internet and blind to the cyber crooks who inhabit it, falls victim to yet another scam.
So my advice to all those new Facebookers is by all means embrace the internet with enthusiasm and passion. And get involved with Which? on Facebook as well – but let’s not forget that common sense and a healthy dose of scepticism should exist alongside this as well.