10 fraud prevention tips to keep seniors safe on the internet

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Seniors are using the internet more and more often, whether it’s to check their email, manage money or keep in touch with people on Facebook.

Unfortunately, that means even more opportunities for people to rip them off.

According to Home Instead Senior Care, seniors are often targeted because of their perceived accumulated wealth and because they’re less likely to report the crime due to embarrassment.

Here are ten tips to stay safe online compiled from the National Cyber Security Alliance, Stop Think and Connect and the Home Instead Senior Care network.

  1. Create passwords and make them strong. Lock all internet-enabled devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, with secure passwords – at least 12 characters long and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
  2. Secure access to accounts, with two-step verification. Many online services, including apps and websites, offer free options to help protect personal information. Learn more at com.
  3. Think before you act. Emails or messages that create a sense of urgency – like a problem with a bank account or taxes – are likely a scam. Reach out to companies by phone to determine if emails are legitimate.
  4. When in doubt, throw it out. If an email looks unusual, delete it. Clicking on links in email is often how scammers access personal information. Turn on spam filters to filter suspicious messages.
  5. Share with care. Be aware of what you share publicly on social media and adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information.
  6. Use security software, including updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  7. Adjust browser safety settings for optimum security.
  8. Use your computer’s default firewall security protection on your computer.
  9. Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you’re finished using them. Leaving them open on your computer or smartphone could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
  10. Consider support. Seniors who live alone or spend a lot of time by themselves may want to consider a trusted source, such as adult family members, computer-savvy grandchildren, or professional caregivers, to serve as a second set of eyes and ears when conducting activities online.

Home Instead Senior Care has also created a website with additional tips and a quiz to test your knowledge.  Click here for more information.