Seniors and the Internet: Be Safe and Avoid Scams
Safe and Avoid Scams

Internet security should be on the minds of anyone who goes online, especially seniors. Many scams target older, less-tech-savvy users. DayBreak Adult Care Services offers the following tips to help to avoid online scams targeting seniors.

Protect your computer

The first step toward internet security is to protect your computer. Be sure to install:

  • Firewall: a barrier between your computer and any third party who might try to gain access
  • Antivirus program: protects your computer from malware
  • Adblockers: protects you from malware that comes in pop-up ads

Also, use a password to protect your computer from unauthorized users. Your password should be complex – a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Avoid common online scams targeting seniors

Cybercrime is the fastest-growing crime in the world, and many scams target seniors. Internet security should be a primary concern for any senior who goes online. Here are some scams to watch out for:

Email scams: Some scams come in the form of emails that look like they are from legitimate sources and ask for your username and password, financial information, or credit card numbers.

Tax and banking scams: Scammers make phone calls and send emails pretending to be the IRS or your financial institution, asking for you to give them your account number or pay with a credit card. The IRS and legitimate financial institutions will never contact you and ask for personal information.

Software scams: You receive an email or a pop-up ad telling you to install attached software because your security has been compromised. Never install unsolicited software.

Lottery scams: You get an email telling you that you won money in a sweepstakes or lottery. All you have to do is provide your bank account number to claim the winnings. Again, never give anyone your bank account information.

Grandparent scams: These specifically are scams targeting seniors and scam people out of an estimated $328 billion each year. You get an email or text message supposedly from a grandchild who is in legal or financial trouble and begs for money, usually through a wire transfer, gift card, or Western Union. Always ask identifying questions that only your grandchild would know before you send any money.

Be social, but be safe

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be useful and fun, but they also are hotspots for scammers. A few quick tips:

  • Be careful what information you share. You might be enjoying that vacation, but posting about it while you’re on vacation lets anyone who sees it know you aren’t home.
  • Don’t accept friend requests or allow people into your social network that you don’t know.
  • Never give money to anyone you meet online.
  • Be careful about clicking links. Many stories that seem interesting are only there to get you to click over and then click on malware ads.
  • Know about the social platform’s security and privacy settings, and use them to your advantage.
Internet safety is important for seniors

If you are a senior using the internet or a caregiver for a senior using the internet, be sure your computer, social media, and internet habits are safe and that you avoid online scams targeting seniors. If you don’t know what to do or don’t fully understand the tips above, ask a friend or family member who does.

Our goal at Daybreak Adult Care Services is to improve the quality of life for our clients by providing compassionate, dependable, and reliable assistance. Take a look through our services to see how we can help you or the ones you love. Contact us today to find out about our services.