The internet is a gateway to a world of possibilities, offering connection, information and convenience.
Being online allows us to stay in touch with friends and family across the globe, shop without navigating bustling malls, manage our finances, stay updated on current events, play games, learn new skills, and much more.
However, it’s important to remember the ever-present risk of online threats and scams.
Unfortunately, these hazards are becoming increasingly prevalent and, in many cases, more challenging to identify.
Seniors, in particular, find themselves targeted in various scams, which is why it’s more important than ever to take precautions when you use the internet. It’s essential to stay informed about current online threats and scams and prioritise your safety and security in the digital world.
Here are a few online safety tips for seniors to help you protect yourself online.
Use a strong and unique password
Securing your Wi-Fi network, devices and online accounts with strong passwords is like putting a padlock on the gateway to your digital world. It’s your first line of defence against digital threats.
A strong password should contain at least 12 characters, including a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
Be sure not to use common words like ‘password’ or keyboard patterns like ‘12345’ as these can be easy to guess. Also, ensure your passwords don’t include any personal information like your phone number, street address or your birthday.
Do you struggle to create unique passwords or remember your passwords? Don’t worry, many of us grapple with this issue. If managing multiple passwords seems daunting, a password manager can help you to create, store and use all of your different passwords across your devices and online services.
Don’t worry this one isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
Two-factor authentication (often referred to online as 2FA) is like adding an extra layer of security to your online accounts. It involves using a second verification method in addition to your password.
This might involve sending a text message or an email containing a unique code every time you sign into an account. It could also involve using an authentication app, a fingerprint or another secure means.
Setting up 2FA is a straightforward process. Navigate to the settings in your online accounts and look for the two-factor authentication option. From there, you can select the method that suits you best.
Be wary of suspicious links, downloads and email attachments
Beware of emails, text messages and other communications that may come disguised as urgent notifications about your credit card, bank account, or taxes. While these messages may initially appear legitimate, they often serve as a smokescreen for scams. They use links, files, attachments, or downloads designed to deceive you into compromising your information or providing unauthorised access to your accounts.
If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of such messages, it’s important to exercise caution. Take a moment to examine the communication for any red flags. Be wary of urgency or requests for sensitive information, as these are common tactics employed by scammers.
When in doubt about the authenticity of a message, resist the temptation to click on links or open attachments. Instead, contact the company directly to determine whether or not the message is trustworthy.
This advice also goes for unfamiliar websites and downloads from untrusted sources.
It is very important to always use secure online banking platforms and regularly monitor your online accounts, financial statements and credit reports for unauthorised transactions or suspicious activity.
Check the privacy settings on your social media
Navigating social media can be a double-edged sword. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide an excellent means of staying connected, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with sharing personal information online.
Scammers can exploit these platforms to gather details such as your name, address, or birthday, then use this information to impersonate you in applications for credit cards or bank loans.
Take charge of your online presence by carefully adjusting privacy settings on your social media accounts. Review and customise these settings to dictate who can access your personal information and posts, ensuring your details are only visible to those you trust.
When it comes to friend requests, only accept requests from individuals you know personally. Refrain from accepting requests from strangers. Unfortunately, people online aren’t always who they say they are, and connecting with strangers could potentially expose you to fraudulent activity. Also never share your location online.
Shop safely online
When shopping online, use secure websites with “https://” in the URL. Verify the legitimacy of online retailers by reading reviews and avoid entering personal information on suspicious websites.
How can Focused Health Care Help?
Remember, these tips aren’t about avoiding the digital world but about embracing it safely. By staying informed and following these simple tips, you can confidently enjoy the benefits of the internet while minimising potential risks.
Protecting yourself online is crucial, and at Focused Health Care, we understand that your well-being extends beyond just physical health. We’re here to support you.
If you’d like the reassuring, regular presence of a carer for yourself or a loved one, please contact us.
*All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Focused Health Care can consult with you regarding your individual health needs.