back to article We need to talk about Granny: She's way more likely to fall for phishing

Research has shown that older people – particularly older women – are more susceptible to phishing scams. You may think our oldies are more suspicious of strangers, but that's sadly not the case. The study was presented at the Enigma 2017 conference by Daniela Oliveira, a professor in the department of computer engineering at …

  1. Dr Scrum Master

    Boiler Rooms

    Don't boiler room operations also tend to target the elderly? Or they just find more success with them?

  2. HmmmYes

    Its not just email and web stuff.

    My parents get about 4-5 phone calls a day from Microsoft Indian support team.

    Just as well they dont have internet. Or a working computer.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Wow, I only get 4-5 a month. Why are Microsoft so much more helpful to them ? Have I upset them ?

      Another factor might be that elderly people are more likely to be at home to take a call. These calls always seem to come on the landline rather than a mobile.

    2. MK_E

      I get them at my desk sometimes. Thick indian accent identifying himself as "Angus Mcleod from Microsoft"

      Aye right.

      1. Spanker

        Working my from home on a shared phone line. Wife is under instruction to cut off phone calls from Indian-accented chaps called 'Steve' or 'Brian' and to pass me Vijay or Hetal.

  3. John Lilburne

    As we age ...

    ... we decline in certain cognitive areas,”

    How does this mitigate against TEH YOUFS tendency to be off their heads on booze and recreational drugs?

    In any case a few months ago an other report from Microsoft said that YOUF were more susceptible to being scammed:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/20/millennials_easier_bait_for_tech_support_scams_than_baby_boomers/

  4. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Generational difference

    The older generation (say 75+) tended to be more respectful of authority. So "I've come to read your meter" at the door. Or "I'm phoning to tell you that there is a scary virus on your computer" is more likely to get a result.

    Whereas, these days getting an email saying you have a parking violation is all too plausible. Electronic car parking systems and deliberately confusing parking signs means we can all trip up and catch a fine. And some of these notifications may come to your email address or phone.

    1. Commswonk

      Re: Generational difference

      Whereas, these days getting an email saying you have a parking violation is all too plausible. Electronic car parking systems and deliberately confusing parking signs means we can all trip up and catch a fine. And some of these notifications may come to your email address or phone.

      I'm not sure that it is all that plausible, because it would require someone to be able to get my email address or 'phone number solely from my vehicle registration number. The DVLA might well give them my address, but nothing more. Yes, we might all accidentally infringe some parking regulation or restriction but that is still a long way from someone being able to email or telephone me about it.

      Mind you, I don't have the occasion to use "electronic" parking systems.

  5. Magani
    Headmaster

    Trust? Who, me?

    ...and we become more trusting.

    Speak for yourself. As I get older, I just become more cynical and pessimistic.

    However, I do see that happening to this demographic as I seem to be the go-to IT guy for all my wife's friends and relations (Hay, he's retired - how busy can he be?). Trying to get the idea across to my 86-year-old brother-in-law that the local telco has no interest about the nasty virus on his PC can sometimes lead to pulling out what little of my hair remains. Ditto with the ubiquitous nearly-incomprehensible Indian-accented Microsoft 'helper'.

    I try to get the message through that there are people out there that mean them harm, even if it's only from a financial point of view.

    Oh, you got an email from your second cousin saying they're stranded in Ulan Bator / Timbuktu / Istanbul and want you to send $$$ via Western Union and you pressed 'Reply' to check if it was really them and it came back saying 'Yes'? <long sigh>....

    Us Olde Phartes who can remember where we were when JFK caught a bullet and watched Armstrong walk on the moon when we were at work on a smuggled-in B/W 12" TV grew up in a far more trusting world. Here in the Greater Antipodes, no one locked the front door unless we we were going on holidays, and we didn't need to see an ID card when someone came to the front door, but I digress.

    As the headline suggests, talk to your Granny. It'll make her day, even if she isn't necessarily following the IT side of the conversation, as you've actually taken the trouble to talk to her. That means a lot these days.

    Must go now - a 94-year-old relative needs her PC shifting to her new retirement village so she can keep up with her kids, grandkids and great grandkids spread across the globe via Skype and Facebook. YAY!

    Icon: We also remember Jimmy Edwards.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Trust? Who, me?

      "we didn't need to see an ID card when someone came to the front door"

      It does tend to confuse the card waving chuggers when I point out how unimpressed I am because I could quite easily knock one up in a few minutes with my camera, printer and a laminated holder I can get from ebay at £2 per hundred.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Trust? Who, me?

      Part of the issue is generational, the norms of one's childhood and early adulthood still strongly influence one's attitudes and tendency to trust strangers. Also, many stop aggressively learning new technology as they age preferring the older, more familiar technologies than the newer. It's not that they can not it's that they do not feel the need to learn many new technologies.

      Watch many older movies from the 30s into the 80s and notice how little office technology and procedures really changed. That era lasted longer than most realize. So someone could learn the necessary skills while young and not have learn many new skills later and they needed to learn fewer at one time.

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: Trust? Who, me?

      Professor Jimmy Edwards DFC please.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happens everywhere

    It even happened in Germany. A 62 year old woman was conned into inviting literally millions of so-called engineers, doctors, and teachers into her home(land).

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Happens everywhere

      Well, she has my blessing.

    2. DNTP

      Re: Happens everywhere

      Well here in the US a 70 year old senile asshole keeps inviting robber barons into the government...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless comment alert

    Not much point to this comment I'll admit but, as someone whose grandparents, when in their upper-80s, were swindled by people they trusted (carers, handymen, etc) my anger is getting the better of me.

    People who take advantage of the elderly feature on my very short list of people who should be publicly paraded through town and pelted with rotten fruit by the families of those they con. Repeatedly. If your elderly parents were a victim of some scroat trying to con them out of their life savings, I'd happily help you tie the perp up ready for their tomato infusion...

    I have lists with stronger punishments for those who abuse people who cannot defend themselves, eg care-home abusers.

    Veering wildly off topic here now, but my list of punishments for people who abuse or harm animals is surprisingly effective in its simplicity; do to the abuser what they did to the animal. I know 'an eye for an eye' isn't really the done thing but I do wonder if people would cut off rhino horns so freely, if they knew that getting caught would result in an anaesthetic-free de-noseification...

    Grrr - I'll get off my soapbox now. As you were...

  8. RonWheeler

    Same as phone marketing, door to doort salesmen etc etc

    UN PC mode on. We need to stop going, aw bless, they're just poor people in desperate times trying to make a living. We need to be saying kick their heads in - they're scum.

    1. tfewster

      Re: Same as phone marketing, door to doort salesmen etc etc

      Look, RonWheeler, I know these kids, it's not just being PC, I've seen their problems and struggles, and let me tell YOU that what they REALLY need is to have their heads kicked in.

      "Not the 9 o'clock news" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04clpd7h0b0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022