Internet Safety Tips for Seniors

Internet Safety Tips for Seniors. Internet safety is important for all age groups, but senior citizens often require an extra layer of protection before they head online. Because this is a generation who didn’t grow up surrounded by technology and all its pitfalls, they are often unaware of the dangers that can lurk behind a fake virus protection plan or a pleading email from a stranger.

Internet SafetyInternet safety is important for all age groups, but senior citizens often require an extra layer of protection before they head online. Because this is a generation who didn’t grow up surrounded by technology and all its pitfalls, they are often unaware of the dangers that can lurk behind a fake virus protection plan or a pleading email from a stranger.

At the same time, seniors are heading online in greater and greater numbers. Because the internet allows people to connect with others without leaving the home, it provides a great channel for socialization and personal growth.

Before you turn on the computer and open up your email, here are a few important online safety tips for seniors.

Always Have Security Software: Don’t use the internet without an anti-virus or anti-malware software in place. Although some basic packages come with a computer purchase, it’s typically best to install security from a trusted name that updates regularly. Then write down the name of this company, and keep the customer service number handy. Only approve updates, changes, and/or virus detection alerts from the company you chose and that you can confirm by talking to an actual human being.

Make Strong Passwords: Yes, it can be annoying when every website or service you use requires a password, and that password has to contain seven numbers, two letters, four symbols, and an exclamation point. But it’s always a good idea to come up with very strong passwords and to use different ones for each site. It’s okay to write these down and keep them near your desk…the chances of anyone breaking in to your home to steal your list of passwords is much, much less than the chances of someone breaking in to your online profile to crack an easy-to-remember password.

Nothing is Free: Ads and popups that congratulate you for winning or encourage you to collect your prizes are almost always a scam. Don’t click on anything that is offering you a great deal or a chance to win. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Email Carefully: Spammers and scammers love to send bogus emails in an attempt to get access to your personal information, up to and including your bank account numbers. Pay close attention to the emails you receive and never follow any link you aren’t one hundred percent sure about. Emails with a large number of grammar and spelling errors are usually a red flag, as are generic emails from close contacts who should know you better. Even email from a seemingly legitimate source can be part of a scam, so when in doubt, call a loved one with expertise in computers, call the actual company in question, or even call your bank for verification. More and more financial institutions are offering a Q&A line that will allow you to check questionable emails through them first, saving you both the trouble of losing money.

Set Up Parental Protection: Just as there are ways to make the internet safe for children, so too is it possible to add layers of protection for seniors. Ask someone you trust and with a background in computer safety to put up parental blocks that will prevent you from accidentally going places you shouldn’t. 

Categories: Family Safety