A monthly Information Security publication for the WPI community. 

This month's focus is on CYBER SAFETY FOR ELDERS AND CHILDREN. We encourage community members to share  your information security knowledge, and use these tips to keep friends and family from becoming cyber victims!

In this issue:

  • Why Are They Targets?
  • Back to the Future: Phones, TV, Internet of Things, and AI
  • Learning with Laughter
  • Information Security Drop-in
  • Featured Videos
  • In the News
  • Identity Theft by the Numbers
  • WPI Resources
  • Diversity in Cybersecurity
  • Coming Next Month...

Why Are They Targets?


The elderly tend to have a large amount of savings and very little debt, and many have a long credit history and higher credit scores. Once a scammer has their personal information they can take out high limit credit cards and loans in their name. These links offer more about scams and how elders can protect themselves.

Why Do Scammers Target The Elderly? (Schweizer and Associates)Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors (We Live Security)How Older Adults Can Improve Their Personal Cyber Security (National Council on Aging)FBI - Elder FraudUS Department of Justice - Elder Justice Initiative (EJI)


Children are easy targets for cyber criminals due to the rise in social media and time spent online, and increasing reliance on digital transactions. They are also very trusting. AARP explains more, and offers suggestions to keep them safe.

Criminals Target Children for Identity Theft and Fraud (AARP)

Identity Theft

Identity theft for children is also on the rise. According to Freekick, "Instead of pretending to be someone else, they create an entirely new identity by stealing a child’s personally identifiable information (PII) and combining it with made-up data." They offer these top reasons:

  • Children don’t have a credit history. 
  • They have randomized Social Security numbers. 
  • Children aren't subject to financial monitoring like adults are.

Combat ID theft by protecting children’s SSN, teaching them about online dangers and not to reveal private info, and consider freezing their credit profiles. 

Why Are Children Ideal Targets for Identity Theft—Main Reasons Explained (FreeKick)

Back to the Future: How Has Tech Changed?

Some elders and children may be still using older devices. Perhaps they receive hand-me-down phones, or are unable to afford the latest computer models. They may not be familiar with keeping operating systems and apps updated. Also as devices age manufacturers discontinue support for them, and they often lack the latest cybersecurity protections.

New tech can be incredibly helpful to all ages, but senior and young users may need assistance with setup and understanding how not to be vulnerable to attack.

Cell Phones

How cell phones have evolved over the years? Time travel with these articles:

The History of Phones and Web DevelopmentTwitter post comparing smartphone usage in 2014 to 2024


Not only have the TVs changed from giant boxes to very thin items hung on a wall, how people watch TV has changed from watching at a specific time to streaming on demand from a variety of apps.

Our TV-viewing experience is changing as television tech evolves (CBS 8)

Keeping Internet of Things Safe

Voice controlled, internet of things devices can be helpful to the elderly and allow them to keep in touch with their friends and family. However they can be vulnerable to attack without the right precautions in place. Keepersecurity provides tips to prevent attacks.

How To Prevent Internet of Things Attacks (Keepersecurity)

Robo Calling with Familiar Voices

Not only can Artificial Intelligence (AI) generate text, it can also be used to generate the voices of people you recognize. In January 2024 robocalls about the upcoming primary election  impersonated President Biden's voice.

Cybercriminals have also used AI-faked voices to scam people out of money. The victim receives a phone call that sounds like their loved one is in distress and hears a reason why they urgently need to provide money. Scammers might fake a kidnapping, or request money for bail or a hospital bill. In these situations, the best action is to hang up and try to contact them with a method usually used to reach them.

These resources provide more detail and a link for reporting scams to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Scammers can use AI tools to clone the voices of you and your family—how to protect yourself (CNBC)Chatbots, deepfakes, and voice clones: AI deception for sale (Federal Trade Commission)The Terrifying A.I. Scam That Uses Your Loved One’s Voice (The New Yorker)File a Complaint with the FCC


Learning with Laughter 

6-year-old girl is sitting in front of a laptop with a computer mouse in her right hand. She is wearing gamer headphones and has a podcaster style microphone. Text: "I'll never let my kids use tablets and screens. Kindergarten in 2020"


A man who appears elderly is using a desktop computer. Text: "Spends $1200 for a new computer. Uses it for solitaire."

Information Security Drop-in

Drop by to see us on Thursday, April 25th between 11 AM - 1 PM in the Gordon Library Lobby. We would be happy to answer your questions about cyber safety for elders and children, or any cybersecurity topics you would like to discuss!

Featured Videos

81 Year Old Victim of Romance Scam Became Money Mule (01:40)Former FBI Director William Webster Helps Foil Elder Fraud Scam (03:40)FBI New York PSA about Predators in Online Games (01:20)

In the News

This March 2024 article discusses the lawsuit  against Roblox, which claims companies work together to allow online gambling for minors using Robux, the platform's digital currency.

Roblox Class Action Claims Third-Party Gambling (Top Class Actions)

This February 2024 Detroit news report discusses romance scams targeting the elderly.

DHS warns of rise in romance scams targeting seniors

Identity Theft By the Numbers

- Child identity theft ensnares nearly 1 in 50 children in the U.S. yearly.

3 out of 4 child identity theft victims know the thieves.

- 1 in 10 seniors are identity theft victims.

- Identity theft of Americans age 60 and older resulted in financial losses of $3.1 billion in 2022.

5 Child Identity Theft Statistics Every Parent Should Know (Safe Home)Senior Identity Theft Statistics (Senior Living)

WPI Resources

Protecting Children Online (Hub article)

Employees can access webinars and other resources for child and elder care and conversations in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Under See All EAP Services choose Visit Training for topics such as What Are My Children Doing Online, and Identity Theft.

Employee Assistance Program

Diversity in Cybersecurity

Romeo Gardner, Founder and CEO at Nehlos 

Romeo is a Black man with cropped hair, a small beard, and mustache. He is wearing glasses with orange frames.
Romeo Gardner

Coming Next Month...

Summer Vacation Scams


Is there a cybersecurity topic that you would like to know more about? Please contact WPI Information Security using Get Support below.