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Perceived Privacy Risk

Privacy risks encompass fears around perceptions of privacy, security, and identity-theft. It is exhibited through a lack of confidence in the online environment and a reluctance to share anything private through digital means. This risk includes concerns about data security, scams and the fear of being tracked online as well as accidently signing up to subscriptions and automatic monthly payments that can be confusing.

For Timothy, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
“I feel there is a high level of risk doing transactions online (e.g., banking, shopping).”
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Example 1

Privacy risks may manifest as a fear of not feeling safe doing online transactions due to the concern of privacy breach. For instance, Timothy frequently consults other seniors on how to safely shop online. He has ‘seen it all’ in terms of scams and fraud online. As such, he never shops from online retailers he does not know and is very careful with his digital payment methods.

Example 2
“I worry that people can see my personal details when I go online to transact.”
Timothy 1

Example 2

Privacy risks include the fears about personal details being entered online. For example, Timothy knows how cookies and search algorithms work and never misses an opportunity to tell people that with free services online, you are not the customer you are the product! He is deeply concerned about how personal information is sold to the highest bidder in order to tailor targeted advertising to users.

Example 3
“I’m worried that people might be able to access my account or credit card information when I shop online”
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Example 3

Privacy risk also include fear of unknown third parties hacking into accounts or credit card information while online. For example, Timothy never uses free WIFI due to the risk of fraud and viruses entering his devices from an unsecure network. He often tells others that they should be more careful.

“I fear losing my privacy.”
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Example 4

This privacy risk is focused on the feeling that your privacy could be breached, you could become a victim of a scam, or your identity could be stolen. For instance, Timothy does not save his credit card information on his computer and he prefers to not login to any website and browse in ‘incognito’ mode.

Example 4

Can you relate to those example above?  Go to strategies to learn about how Timothy can address these issues.


Individual Strategies for Managing Privacy Risk

Strategy Illustration 8


Incognito. Consider using the Incognito/private function in your internet browser when searching online.


Scams. If you experience a scam on any social media platforms – contact the platform and immediately inform them of the scam.


Banking. Go onto your financial institutions’ website and explore their tutorials on online banking.


Laptop camera. Increase your privacy online by turning your camera and voice recognition off, utilising privacy settings on your devices and social media accounts and the incognito/private mode when searching online. Use a search engine to study how to do so.


Further research. If you are interested in privacy and security risks, there are several online resources, website and YouTube videos that can help you better understand privacy and security issues.


Antivirus software. Consider using antivirus software (e.g., Norton or Kaspersky). Consult your friends or specialist about the most adequate antivirus for you.


Be aware. It is important to keep updating yourself with news on scams from or Subscribe to scam alerts such as Scamwatch Radar. It can help you recognise and avoid scams.


Social media. Review the information you have shared on social media to see if you are sharing too much personal information. If in doubt, delete or hide what you have shared.


Search engines. Most web users rely heavily on Google as their search engine but you might be better off with using private – or anonymous –search engines. Private Search engines do not collect or share your search history or clicks. Anonymous search engines can also block ad trackers on the websites you visit.


Be wary. Before clicking on suspicious links (email or text messages), hover your cursor over the link to view the destination URL. If it doesn’t match the website, you normally use, don’t click. It is probably a phishing scam, trying to gain access to your data. Alternatively, try to go to your account with that specific service (e.g., ATO) and find the information you need there.


Social media. Don’t overshare on social media. Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information, which could allow them to steal your identity or to access your financial information.

Relational Strategies for Managing Privacy Risk

Strategy Illustration 7


Banking and financial institutions. Contacting your bank if you are suspicious that you are being scammed immediately. Banks can stop transactions in your account and prevent you from losing money.


Support groups. Privacy and security issues are a common feature of using ICT. One can never fully master these issues. So, consider forming support groups with other tech savvy seniors where you can discuss scams, security, and privacy issues. Helping others can also help you learn and sharpen your ICT skills.


Cyber legacy. If you are not able to operate your accounts anymore, you need to consider who is going to have access to your data and accounts. Check this online resource : How to prepare your digital legacy plan (


Scams. If you experience a scam on any social media platform – contact the platform and immediately inform them of the scam.


Scamwatch. Consider creating a family club for Scamwatch, where you all share scams you are being exposed to. It turns a threat into an opportunity to build relationship with your family members.
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Strategies to Managing Perceived Privacy Risk

Privacy risk is aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk and try to engage with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.

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You may be interested in
Other potential risks that Timothy is facing:

will this digital device work the way I want it to – it includes forgetting instructions and managing passwords.
concerns about feeling incompetent, getting frustrated and being overwhelmed with digital technology.
worries about online transactions, not receiving the purchased goods and processing errors.
fear of buying too much online and the costs with upgrading software and devices.
concerns that digital devices encourage physical inactivity and becoming addicted to the devices as well as the strains on eyesight.
Timothy Strategy 3
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