Many older adults are vulnerable to scams when using computers, tablets, and smartphones. Whether using technology in public or at home, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud or financial exploitation.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, older adults must be aware of the importance of personal cyber security. With more of our lives moving online, we must protect ourselves from cybercriminals. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that older adults can take to improve their cyber security.
it is crucial to use strong passwords and to update them regularly. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, it is important never to share passwords with anyone and to avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
Be aware of the potential for data breaches. Data breaches occur when a company or organization’s data is accessed without authorization. Older adults should monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.
- Install and use a pop-up blocker. Pop-up blockers are often available for free, including within some internet browsers.
- Use a secure website whenever you purchase items online. Secure web addresses begin with “https” rather than “http.”
- Remember that the top search results may not always be from legitimate companies or agencies when conducting internet searches.
- To reduce security and privacy risks, log out of websites when finished.
TIP! When searching the internet, try scrolling past websites that may populate first but be labeled as “Ads” or “Sponsored.”
- Verify the specific network name with the network owner before connecting to Wi-Fi.
- Never disclose personal information – passwords and credit card numbers included – when using a public Wi-Fi connection.
- Assume everyone can see what you’re doing using a public network.
- Do not set your devices to connect to any automatically public Wi-Fi networks.
Older adults should be aware of the potential for phishing scams. Phishing scams are attempts to gain access to personal information by posing as a legitimate source. Older adults should be wary of emails or messages that ask for personal information or contain suspicious links.
Never respond to unexpected requests for your personal information, even if the sender appears to have some details about you or your account. Scammers may pretend to be your bank, your credit card company, or a government agency and may ask you to confirm your
account by submitting your account number, password, and Social Security number.
Do not click on links, open attachments or download anything from a suspicious message, even when they appear to be from a friend or trusted source.
When on social media, change privacy settings to meet your needs. Understand that when you leave your account “public,” anyone can see information about you, including your pictures and the names of your family members and friends.
Watch out for scammers who may impersonate your social-media friends, tell you they need money or unexpectedly have money to give you.
TIP! Scammers often disguise the name displayed to you in an email. Try hovering your cursor over the sender’s name display to verify the email address.
Imagine this: Imagine a scammer finds your social media page. Could he or she pretend to know more about you to make a scam seem real? For instance, could the scammer pretend to know your grandchild’s name is “Timmy”? Would that make a call from a scammer claiming to be “Timmy” seem more real?
Computer maintenance tips
Older adults should be aware of the potential for malware. Malware is malicious software that can be used to gain access to personal information. Older adults should be sure to keep their computers and other devices up to date with the latest security patches and to install reputable anti-virus software.
Install and maintain an anti-virus and anti-spyware program. Set the program to update automatically and regularly check for updates because new viruses are constantly launched. Do not buy protection software and services based on telephone calls, pop-up advertisements, unexpected virus warnings, or email messages claiming your device has a virus. They are probably scams
Visit www.staysafeonline.org for a list of free security products that scan for and detect malware.
Cyber Smarts for Older Adults
Older adults need to stay updated with the latest cyber trends as technology advances. Ohio’s Cyber Smarts for Older Adults is a great way to do that. This program is designed to help older adults learn how to protect themselves from online threats and stay safe while using the internet. It covers topics such as recognizing and avoiding phishing scams, creating strong passwords and securing personal information.
Additionally, the program offers tips on spotting and reporting online fraud, how to spot fake news, and protecting against identity theft. Cyber Smarts for Older Adults is a great way to stay informed about the ever-changing cyber landscape. It is also a great way to connect with family and friends online. With the help of this program, older adults can stay safe and secure while enjoying the benefits of the internet.
By following these simple steps, older adults can help to protect themselves from cyber criminals and ensure their personal cyber security.