Contrary to popular belief, the majority of adults aged 65 and over are surfing the internet regularly. And while the younger generations don’t give enough credit for how tech savvy our ageing population is, there is a lot to consider when it comes to online safety. Usually, we don’t think about these things until it is too late and online security is important for everyone, of any age group. Learn how to protect yourself online by following these standard safety tips.
The best place to start is to make sure you have the appropriate security software installed on your computer. Checking off automatic updates allows the software to be ready for any new threats or viruses that could compromise your computer. Beware of downloading anything that doesn’t come from a trusted source. Often viruses or malware can be hiding in downloadable content, and hackers try to fool people with interesting links or content. A strong password can be the last line of defence in keeping your information protected. Don’t use personal information in your passwords that can be easily guessed, and try to mix it up with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also best to use different passwords for different logins; you can keep a handwritten record of these provided they’re in a safe and secure place. When given the option, setting up 2 factor ID can offer an extra layer of protection for your online accounts. This involves using a second step for logging in, such as a passcode being sent to your mobile.
Online banking allows you to keep close track of your finances, and you can even set up email or text alerts for any suspicious activity on your accounts. It’s important to make sure that you are only shopping on trusted and secure websites and be careful not to use public WiFi connections that can be easily hacked. Use a credit card for online purchases as they typically have fraud protection that your debit card may not. A common phishing scam is emails asking you to click on a link and enter personal information. Banks and government agencies will never send you links asking for your personal information. Warning signs of a scam include spelling and grammar mistakes, or sites with lots of popups. When in doubt, double check the source, or ask a trusted friend or relative before giving any money or sensitive information.
While social media is the perfect way to stay in touch with family and friends, it can also leave you vulnerable to the wrong type of people. All social media sites have privacy settings available to help protect your information and control who can see your profiles. If you’re unsure of how to set these up, ask a friend or relative to help so that you can safely enjoy these platforms. Remember that not everyone has the right intentions, it’s important to exercise caution when meeting new people online. Do not share personal information, send money, or arrange to meet anyone that you have met online without having someone you know and trust look at the situation with you. Always report any suspicious or bullying behaviour to the platform so that they can take action.
The internet can be a wonderful place, connecting us to family and friends, information, shopping, and so much more. But there are definitely risks as well. Being aware of those risks and learning how to navigate the internet safely will help you enjoy the benefits of the technology while minimising any possible dangers. If you’re not comfortable with some of the more technical aspects, reach out to your tech savvy family or friends to make sure you are doing everything possible to protect yourself online.