Today is Safer Internet Day and so we have put together some advice on keeping yourself safe online.
The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, but it can also be a source of danger for those who are unfamiliar with its workings. Older people, in particular, are often the target of scams and frauds that can result in serious financial losses or identity theft. It is important for older people, and people generally, to be aware of the risks and to take measures to protect themselves when using the internet.
One of the most common forms of internet fraud is phishing. This is when a scammer poses as a legitimate company or organisation, such as a bank or government agency, and asks for sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers. These scammers often use emails or websites that look similar to the real thing, but have slightly different URLs. Older people should never give out personal information online unless they have confirmed that the request is legitimate and made through a secure website.
Another common internet scam is the tech support scam, where the scammer claims to be from a well-known technology company and offers to help fix a problem with the computer. The scammer may ask for remote access to the computer or for the person to download a program, which allows the scammer to steal sensitive information or install malware. Older people should never give anyone remote access to their computer or install software from an unsolicited source.
To avoid falling for these types of scams, older people should educate themselves about the different forms of internet fraud. They can do this by reading articles, taking classes, or by talking to family or friends who are knowledgeable about internet safety. It is also important for people to keep their computer and internet security software up-to-date to protect against malware and viruses.
In addition to these scams, older people should be cautious when using social media. They should be wary of accepting friend requests from people they do not know and should not share personal information such as their address, phone number, or date of birth online. They should also be mindful of the privacy settings on their social media accounts and make sure that they only share information with people they trust.
Another safety tip for older people using the internet is to use strong passwords and to change them regularly. A strong password is at least 12 characters long and contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. People should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as this makes it easier for hackers to gain access to their sensitive information.
Finally, older people should be aware of the risks of online shopping and should only shop on reputable websites that use encryption to protect their personal and financial information. They should also be careful when clicking on links in emails or on websites, as these may lead to malware-infected sites. If a website or email looks suspicious, it is best to err on the side of caution and not click on any links or enter any personal information.
In conclusion, the internet can be a valuable resource for older people, but it is important for them to be aware of the dangers and to take measures to protect themselves. By educating themselves about internet safety and following best practices, older people can enjoy the benefits of the internet while avoiding the risks.