If you are curious about whether seniors the least bit internet savvy, then consider that a 2014 Pew Research Internet project showed that about six in 10 adults use the Internet and that 56 percent of Adults 65+ use Facebook. The internet is a fantastic place to blow two, three or even four hours during the day or night.
And, even though it seems logical to most of us, seniors may not be as familiar with the rules of the road as they should be before hopping on there and taking off. After all, there is so much to see and do along with all the offers presented that the internet may be a little overwhelming for those who were born before the television was invented.
That is why is never too late or too redundant to lay out some of the ways to be careful about surfing in terms of what you should and should not click on, what to trust and so forth. Here are some simple tips (or reminders) about the internet and making it a safe and enjoyable place to visit.
Internet Scams Targeting Seniors
Don’t believe everything you see! The internet is notorious for scams from other users and hackers trying to get your information. This is most often done through phishing and malware that tries to trick users into paying for a service that is not needed or grab personal information.
Additionally, email scams targeting seniors are abundant on the internet. Users are enticed with offers, prizes, free merchandise and more simply by clicking on a link and filling out the form that requests personal information, or worse, providing financial information in order to get a large sum of money (remind yourself that you do not have a cousin who is the King of Nigeria).
Easy Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet
For those over 65 years old, the internet is full of fun, excitement, and technology that make day to day life much easier. From catching up with old friends and classmates to paying bills online, let’s face it, the internet opens up a whole new world. To make it worthwhile, here are some easy tips to stay safe on the internet.
Keep Your Private Info Private
If you receive an email or see an ad that asks for private information (address, social security #, credit cards, banking), do not give it out. Trust us when we tell you that if they ask for such sensitive information, they are up to no good and will not give you what they promised you.
Do Not Send Money to a Stranger
A huge email scam that most anyone with an email address has received is a letter that tells the recipient they will receive millions of dollars (the amount varies) if they send requested information. The supposed pot of gold comes from various sources including your long lost cousin in Africa or some other far off place, someone who is trying to get the money and will give you the crux of it if you send them your bank account # and a host of others who are dying to give you millions. But the money does not exist and neither will any money in your bank account if you believe this scam.
Double-check Facebook Private Messages from Friends
If you receive a private message from someone you know on Facebook that says they are in a jail in Europe and need you to send them bail money, stop and think if that person is even in a foreign country much less jail especially if it is a relative. A good idea is to call them and find out where they are then let them know they have been hacked.
Don’t Click Because It Tells You to Do So
Be careful about what you click on because if you click on the wrong thing, you can run into a host of problems from getting malware in your computer to the entire thing freezing or even crashing.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Be sure to use anti-virus software to help block malware and other viruses from getting into your system. There are several reputable ones including McAfee, Kaspersky, Webroot, and Norton that constantly stay up to date on the latest problems. Once installed, set up a schedule to scan your entire computer and allow updates so that your computer is as protected as possible. Anti-virus software even blocks you from viewing suspicious websites which is an added benefit.
Use a Secure Wi-Fi Network
When installing internet access, make sure you use a secure Wi-Fi network at home with a strong encryption for you to enable. Also, have a strong password and change it periodically.
For ecommerce, retail and banking sites, verify the sites before using them then only enter any financial information (i.e. credit cards) if the web address has an “https” at the beginning as well as a padlock on the address bar.
Constant Reminders of Internet Safety
Internet usage among seniors is only increasing so it makes sense to constantly remind them that it is a great tool but one to be used carefully. The best thing to remember is to keep your business to yourself if a random request pops up.
Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 941.260.0754.