The internet is a great tool for keeping in contact with friends and loved ones, paying bills, reading insightful articles and stimulating your mind – it’s no wonder older adults are one of the fastest-growing demographics online. Despite the many benefits of the Internet, security has become an important topic of discussion. Online scam artists and hackers often prey on seniors, assuming that many of them are too trusting or unaware of the dangers that exist. Here are five helpful tips to increase your security online:
1. Don’t open suspicious links and attachments
Scammers may try to pose as a reputable financial institution, a retailer or even a friend in order to obtain your personal data. If you receive a suspicious email with a link or attachment in it, delete it right away and don’t click on it. Clicking or opening an attachment and entering your personal information, including passwords, can infect your computer and give scammers access to your valuable information.
2. Ensure you have the proper anti-virus software
Anti-virus software can help block viruses and other potential threats online. There are many free and affordable anti-virus software programs, like Norton Antivirus, that can help keep your information safe and give you peace of mind while browsing your favourite sites.
3. Never send money to an unknown source
Be cautious of emails that ask you to send money or immediate transfers online. Scam artists may try to extract money from you by sharing a sad story, claiming you’ve won the lottery or alerting you to an investment opportunity. Always do your research before sending any money online.
4. Choose strong passwords
Although it can be tempting to create passwords that are easy to remember, like names of loved ones, pets or significant dates, it’s best to choose passwords that would be impossible for anyone else to guess. A combination of letters, numbers and symbols offers the strongest protection. If you have a difficult time remembering all of your passwords, jot them down on a notepad or create hints for yourself and store them somewhere safe.
5. Be careful on public computers
If you are using a computer that is not your own, like in a library, café or common area, always remember to log out of your account before walking away. If you forget to log out, the next person who sits down might have access to your private information. Logging out is the best and quickest way to ensure your personal data remains protected.
If you are ever unsure as to whether or not your computer is properly protected, ask a friend or staff member for help. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your safety online.