The Internet is a powerful resource that has transformed the way we live, learn and connect with others around the world. Unfortunately, the Internet isn’t always used for good. Online scammers are constantly looking for new ways to take advantage of others, and older adults are often their targets. Seniors tend to be more trusting than younger people and often have more wealth and better credit, making them more attractive to scammers.
The good news is that it’s possible to minimize your risk of cyber crimes by being proactive and have a clear understanding of what to look for. Here are some tips that can help you avoid from being scammed in your golden years.
Tips to Protect Seniors Against Cybercrime
By employing some basic Internet safety practices, seniors can help ensure that their online experience is safe and enjoyable. Here are some simple tips on how to protect yourself or someone you love from cybercrimes:
- Never open or respond to suspicious emails or click unknown links or attachments – including links sent to you via text message. Email and text senders may also pose as friends or family members, so be sure to verify every message you receive asks for sensitive information.
- Always research organizations first before donating to their cause to confirm their Legitimacy.
- Learn safe browsing habits. Secure websites have an address that begins with “https” rather than “http.” The “s” in “https” stands for secure. Similarly, look for a lock icon near your browser’s location field. The lock symbol and related address containing “https” verify that the connection between your web browser and the website server is safe to enter your information.
- Be cautious when asked for sensitive information by any source other than a trusted professional, such as your healthcare provider or financial adviser.
- Never send payments to unknown sources, including using payment methods such as wire transfers or store gift cards.
- Beware of fake online profiles on social media. An online friend asking for money may not be who they say they are. Never share personal information on public platforms.
- Keep your technology up-to-date. Computers, phones and other electronic devices require regular security updates to protect against ever-changing cyber threats. Use strong, unique passwords online and update them frequently.
- Always ask for help. When in doubt, ask for help from a friend or family member. If you suspect that you’ve been scammed, report the fraud and tell someone you trust as soon as possible. This will help others while also protecting you from further harm.
The Internet can benefit older adults in so many ways but being safe online is critical. When you know what to look for, the Internet doesn’t need to be a threatening environment. Seniors can protect themselves from cyber scams by staying informed, adopting new online behaviors and putting tools in place designed to safeguard their online information.