New website aims to educate seniors on avoiding online fraud

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A senior care organization is trying to help stop Canadian seniors from becoming online fraud statistics.  

Home Instead Senior Care in Saskatoon has partnered with Public Safety Canada to create a website that seniors can use to learn about staying safe online, called Protect Seniors Online.

Greg Charyna, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, said his business's research found that 64 per cent of Canadian seniors have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. 

The most common scams include pop-up requests to fix your computer for a fee, tax scams that appear to come from the Canada Revenue Agency and something called ransomware. 

Charyna said with ransomware, software takes over your computer and won't unlock it until you pay up. 

"These are the kinds of things that a lot of trusting people will be encountering and that can really take advantage," Charyna said on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. 

"We're trusting. We mean well. And sometimes, when we get pushed into a corner, we feel that the only option we have is to respond and give the person what they're asking for."

Falling victim to a scam can cause people to lose their confidence online, and can lead to a loss of feelings of independence, Charyna said.  

"For some folks, this is the window to their world. If they're not able to get out the way they used to, to feel threatened online [is] kind of like you feel concerned about a fall when you're out walking around," Charyna said.

He suggested that seniors start with the quiz on the website. It walks people through scenarios and advises whether they could be a scam.