If you think the incidences of hacking and online scams are on the rise, you are correct. Experts project cybercrimes will cost the world an estimated $10.5 trillion a year by 2025. But it’s not just big corporations and small businesses that are being targeted.
From Facebook accounts to personal email, people are falling victim to hacking and online fraud every day. It’s a frustrating and frightening ordeal to recover from. For older people who might not be as tech-savvy as younger generations, it’s even easier to be caught up in one of these scams.
We have some suggestions you can share to keep seniors in your life safe online.
Tips to Keep a Senior Safe Online
- Use strong passwords: If it seems like every one of your older Facebook friends has had their account hacked, often multiple times, you might be right. Seniors may be more susceptible because some aren’t aware of how important it is to create strong passwords. Those that contain at least eight characters and are a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters are best. Another tip is not to use your name, loved ones’ names, your address, the name of a pet, or other easily identifiable information. Those are the words potential hackers try first.
- Password protect home Wi-Fi: You’ve likely noticed Wi-Fi accounts that aren’t password protected in your neighborhood when logging into your own. Having an unprotected network makes private information vulnerable. Even people with minimal technology skills can access a network from a car parked outside the home. So, check to be sure your senior’s Wi-Fi network has a strong password.
- Stick to secure websites: More people than ever have discovered how easy online shopping can be. What many aren’t aware of is the importance of shopping only on security-enabled sites. Websites that begin with https:// are usually the safest. The “s” means the user’s data is encrypted as it is being transmitted. Never enter financial or personal information on a site that lacks the “s.” If you or a senior loved one has any doubts about a site, do a quick Google search for reviews or complaints about the company.
- Use social media carefully: Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites are popular online destinations for everyone, including older adults. While they can be a fun avenue for staying in touch with friends and family, there are precautions to be aware of. One is to make sure loved ones know how to enable privacy settings. It’s usually best to keep accounts private so only friends can see your posts. Also, encourage your senior family members not to accept friend requests from people they don’t know offline.
- Click with caution: Receiving an email from a sender you don’t know or a mailing list you never signed up for can be a warning sign of a scam. It’s usually best to delete this type of email without opening it. It might contain a virus. Caution your family members to be especially wary of emails with subject lines promoting anything for “free” or claiming they’ve won a sweepstakes prize. Phishing emails are another concern. They often look like they are from your bank or another financial institution. These types of emails usually contain a link that asks you to update information related to your account. If you click the link, it can give the scammer what they need to steal a person’s identity or financial information.
We hope these tips help you and the older adults in your life stay safe while spending time online. If you suspect a senior loved one has been the victim of a scam that they haven’t told you about, this article will help you learn more.
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