NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Conventional wisdom has it that age begets wisdom -- but being technologically savvy about protecting your identity and money while online is a whole different thing.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, consumers age 65 and up are particularly vulnerable to online ID theft.
"Many seniors spend lifetimes building credit and saving money for their golden years, but the identity thieves steal their hard-earned savings or ruin their reputations," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez at a recent forum on senior identity theft.
You'd think that older Americans would get the message and be more cautious about who they share data with online, then, but in a study tracking the online habits of U.S. adults over the age of 50, they are seen as more likely to engage in "risky behavior" with their identities online, and may well be inviting cyber-criminals to track them down and try to fleece them of their cash.The study, Fifty-Plus Booms Online, commissioned by McAfee, the Santa Clara, Calif., security solutions firm, says that the 50-Plus generation spends five hours a day online on average, but "are exposing themselves to social media reproach and dangerous security risks."
- 52% of senior citizens have shared their email address online.
- 27% have shared their cellphone numbers.
- 26% have shared their home address online.
- Share your name (it's better to create different screen names for use in online services).
- Share your home address.
- Share your Social Security number (the Holy Grail for cyber-thieves).
- Share your login or password details (even with trusted friends, employers and family members).