Local AARP fights cyber hackers


There are a lot of misconceptions on what we should and shouldn't do to protect our accounts and personal information online.

From Target to Equifax, we have seen quite a few data breeches over the last year. AARP hosted an event to alert local members of what they can do to protect themselves from becoming a victim.

"A lot of people think that as long as I'm not online I can't be a victim. That's a lie. Because you're not online it actually makes it easier for you to be a victim,” said former dark web hacker Brett Johnson.

According to a recent AARP survey, 60 percent of Washington internet users 18 and over failed a quiz testing their digital security IQ.

"A criminal knows that a senior citizen is not as tech savvy as younger people are, and they take advantage of that,” Johnson said.

According to Private Rights Clearinghouse, in 2017 two billion people had personal information stolen in a data breech.

"A cyber criminal is all about taking advantage of someone, finding a weakness of someone and exploiting it,” Johnson said.

The AARP has a few easy tips to protect yourself from online dangers. First, get a credit freeze to prevent anyone from accessing your credit.

"Your social security number, you're not going to stop that from being online. You can't have it removed. So is your date of birth,” Johnson said. “You can't stop that but what you can do is put a credit freeze on things.”

Second, regularly check your online accounts.

"Monitor your accounts because a lot can happen in 30 days or 60 days,” said Doug Shadel AARP state director.

Third, strengthen your passwords.

"Make sure you don't use the same password for multiple accounts because the scam artists we're describing target those people,” Shadel said,

You can take the Digital Identity IQ quiz to see how you stack up against the rest of the state.

AARP is also urging you to change your security settings on sites like Facebook. If you're sharing your information with everyone, hackers can see when you're traveling, find your address and track down photos with sensitive information.

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