Online Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

In this age where families and friends are spread all over the world, the internet is the go-to option to stay connected for not just kids and adults but seniors too. Apart from communicating, the internet is also an easy way for seniors to follow the latest news, book appointments, find medical information, shop, and also manage their banking transactions.

But while the number of seniors using the internet is consistently rising, the threat of cybersecurity is increasing too. Seniors are prone to cyber attacks as they are often seen as easy targets by cyber attackers. Moreover, it is also important to note that most of the seniors often struggle when it comes to learning modern technologies. This further adds up to the risk.

However, these risks can be easily managed with the help of some basic cyber safety tips. Let us have a look at what cyber safety is, common risks of the internet for seniors, and some handy tips to tackle them.

What Does Cyber Safety Mean?

So, what is cyber safety? In simple words, cyber safety is the process of using information and communication technologies like the internet safely and responsibly. Keeping your personal information safe, respecting other people online, and using proper internet etiquette is what cyber safety is all about.

Common Cyber Risks for Seniors

  • Phishing: Cyber attackers pose as trustworthy contacts such as an online service or bank to gain access to your sensitive information. It is currently one of the most popular forms of cyber attacks. Emails used for such attacks are often found to be exact replicas of genuine emails from trustworthy contacts.
  • Identity Theft: In these attacks, cyberattackers try to get access to your personal information such as your bank account details, social security number, phone number, address, debit/credit card details, etc. The criminals then impersonate the individuals with the help of this information, generally for financial gains.
  • Behavioral Attacks: Elderly are also common targets of many different types of behavioral attacks. These often include scams related to senior dating, prescription pills, anti-aging products, investment or charity scams, and even fake financial help requests from friends or family members. Loneliness and lack of knowledge about why is cybersecurity important are two of the biggest reasons why a lot of seniors fall for such scams.

Cyber Safety Tips for Seniors

1. Never Share Sensitive Information with Anyone

Note that companies never ask for sensitive information such as your bank account number or debit/credit card PIN. When replying to an email, make sure that you first check whether or not it is genuine. Check the email address of the sender and avoid clicking on any links included in emails from questionable sources.

Enable spam filter in your mailbox and use a genuine anti-malware software for safety against a host of common cyber attacks.

2. Using Unique and Strong Passwords

Strong Password

One of the most important cyber safety tips for adults and seniors is to use unique and strong passwords for all of your online activities. Make sure that the password is long enough and has a combination of upper and lowercase letters. Also, add numbers and symbols for added safety.

Make sure that you never share your password with anyone and use password manager for storing all your passwords. 

3. Be Careful with What You Share and Post

One of the most important aspects of cyber safety is being a responsible internet user. Irrespective of what you post on social platforms, ensure that what you are sharing is actually something that you’d like to associate yourself with. Be very careful with whom you share information on the internet as the information can be used against you in a number of ways.

Avoid accepting requests from strangers and try to keep your friendships with random people on social platforms limited to the platform.

4. Avoid Offers That Are Too Good to Be True

Avoid Offers

While shopping on the internet can help you get decent discounts at times, you should try to stay away from offers that are too good to be true. Be it shopping for an everyday use product, family vacation, health insurance, or discounted medications, be very careful of such offers and never share your banking details to claim the offer.

Make sure that you only shop from reputed online stores and prefer typing the name of the website in the address bar rather than following a link in any emails.

Importance of Cyber Safety for the Elderly

There is no denying the fact that the internet has made our lives easier. From kids, adults, to even seniors, everyone can use this technology in innumerable ways. But this also makes understanding the advantages of cyber safety crucial for everyone, especially the elderly as they can be easy targets.

 If you are a senior citizen or want to save someone in your family, keep the above-mentioned tips in mind to use the internet responsibly and protect yourself against cyber attacks and scams.