It’s hard to get the attention of busy teens, and especially if the topic is cybersecurity. But if the subject is about protecting their grandparents from heartless scammers and fraudsters, they’re all ears.
We want to turn that concern into a simple project that will not only protect our most vulnerable, but help turn teens into security fans and evangelists.
According to the FBI, senior citizens are scammed out of more than $3 billion every single year, with the average loss of nearly $35,000 per victim.
Not only is this money that these victims can’t afford to lose, but the impact goes far beyond financial. Knowing they’ve been scammed can significantly hurt their self-confidence, their ability to trust, their willingness to engage with others, to be alone at home, even their physical and mental health.
That’s why we all have to do so much to protect this highly vulnerable population from these heartless criminals. And that’s where students come in.
How Would It Work?
Stop Senior Scams is a high school project based around our Secure in 60 Seconds security training program, and designed to make cybersecurity a personal family-focused mission. And also making easy and even exciting for teens to learn and practice cybersecurity in a very meaningful and personal way.
- Students can start by watching this collection of videos, learning about the scams targeting seniors, and how they need to protect themselves.
- Then they can go from being a student to a teacher, sharing their newly-acquired knowledge (and videos) with grandparents, their parents, or anyone else in that age group who might be vulnerable, and teaching them the tell-tale signs they need to watch out for, and how to react.
- If they want to be more ambitious, they can present what they’ve learned to local senior groups, and at the same time improve their self-confidence, presentation skills, and public speaking.
We’ll be providing support and resources to make it as easy as possible for students to start and complete the project.
How Will It Help Students?
- It will introduce them to the fundamentals of cybercrime, fraud, and cybersecurity in a way that’s meaningful, fun, personal, and cause-focused.
- It will teach them new skills they can put into practice immediately.
- These students can become the new frontline in combatting one of America’s cruelest crimes.
- It can help hone other important skills, like self-confidence, teamwork, public speaking, technology basics, and personal finances.
- And it might persuade them to keep doing this as a career.
And we’re creating a great resource page to help you better understand the important questions and answers around senior scams.
Who’s Behind The Project?
Neal O’Farrell is considered one of the world’s longest-serving cybersecurity and fraud experts, with more than 40 years experience, and has won multiple awards along the way.
More than a decade ago he founded the non-profit Identity Theft Council, in partnership with the Elder Financial Protection Network, to use education as the #1 defense against one of the world’s most expensive crimes. Meet him.