Seniors & Technology: How to Help Older Adults Stay Safe Online
Technology has its benefits in helping seniors connect with their loved ones, access information online, and enjoy entertainment. Leaving seniors to navigate the digital world without proper guidance exposes them to various risks, including identity theft and scams. From basic phone scams to insurance frauds and fake medical care, numerous scams target the elderly. Here are valuable tips for seniors to get the best out of the internet while staying safe.
1. Educate Seniors About Cybersecurity
One of the best ways to help older adults navigate the internet safely is through education. Teach them the dangers of using technology and acts like phishing, hacking, password attacks, and malware that criminals can use to access their details.
Once seniors understand the risks, you can help them protect themselves online. The more knowledge the seniors have, the better they can protect themselves and minimize the adverse effects of cyber attacks.
2. Protect Digital Devices and Home Network
You can protect your digital devices by installing security software like Antivirus and VPN to protect your online activities when browsing the internet. Also, secure your router regularly by changing the username and password.
Do remember that devices like smart TVs, healthcare monitors, and security systems can exchange data. With this in mind, you should change their passwords before connecting to the home network to fill any security gap. Besides installing security software on your devices, keep them updated to fix any loopholes that criminals can use to infiltrate your device and steal your information.
3. Use Strong Passwords
When choosing passwords for your accounts, avoid using personal details like date and year of birth, your loved ones’ names, or any other personal information that criminals can easily guess or find out. Create a unique password with numbers and special characters to make it strong, and do not share it with anyone.
Since it can be difficult for seniors to remember all the different passwords, it is advisable to use password management tools like LastPass and 1Password. You only have to remember one master password, and the password manager does the rest.
4. Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Sharing personal information puts you at risk of identity theft as criminals can use the information you provide for malicious purposes such as fraud. When using the internet, be wary of sites asking for personal details like your social security number, family information, phone numbers, or account details.
Cybercriminals can also use fun social media questions to get the information they need, such as questions about your pet’s name, date and year of birth, and even hometown. Therefore, be careful about the information you share on social media and other public websites, and limit who can see or access your details. Lastly, do not share your location for your safety.
5. Beware of Relationship Scams
Phishing emails and health scams that promise cheap medical supplies with miraculous results are popular. However, scammers can also take advantage of lonely seniors looking for partners. Usually, relationship scams occur on dating websites and social media platforms like Facebook. Scammers cultivate trust from their victims before asking for money by using emotional or hard-luck stories.
Since it can be difficult to identify these scams, seniors should be wary of individuals who seem to take the relationship too fast. Consider talking to friends or relatives about it, and never send money or gifts to strangers. Also, if you decide to meet them, do so in a public place and tell a friend or relative about it. You can also bring the company with you.
With the above tips, older adults can enjoy using the internet without falling victim to online scammers or endangering their safety and wellbeing.
For more help caring for your senior loved ones, check out our blog.
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