Online Safety for Seniors

These days everything is done online. You can share photos with your family members, write emails to friends across the country, shop for your favorite items, pay for your bills, apply for health insurance and more.

The Internet has made it easy for you to do so many things. But it is also easier for others to take advantage of you through scams and schemes. The good news is that there are several measures you can take for online safety and still enjoy all the convenience that comes with the Internet.


It’s Personal

One of the biggest tips can be applied to a lot of different situations. Don’t share your personal information with untrusted sources. Personal information isn’t just your social security and credit card numbers. It can include your name, phone number and address or insurance policy or account number.

Not sure if the email you got is really from your bank? Banks will not require you to send your personal information through email.

Not so Fast

Whether through email, false websites or digital ads, there are a lot of internet traps and viruses. One way to avoid falling into them is to use caution when clicking links and downloading files. Some of these traps look like legitimate businesses or services. If you have your doubts, write down the name and look for it on the Better Business Bureau or ask an expert in that area. You can always go back and click on safe links, but once a bad link is clicked, it may be too late to stop a virus or information theft.

Received an email with an attachment, but not sure if you should open it? If you have doubts, it’s best to avoid downloading attachments from email addresses you don’t know.

Trust is Earned

The Internet can be a great place to do research because it’s so easy to publish and search for information. That ease also means that people can publish false or misleading information. If you’re searching for advice about health, finance, retirement, don’t take the word of the first source you see. Use multiple sources, and check their credentials. For businesses, check the Better Business Bureau. For other sources, check government websites to verify information.

How can you tell if a site is official? Only official government sites use the .gov ending.

Proceed with Caution

The best advice for online safety is the simplest. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t assume that everyone online is looking out for your best interest. Play it cautious and you’ll have a better chance of keeping your personal information safe.

Check out these sites for more in-depth information.

Department of Homeland Security Stop. Think. Connect.

FBI Internet Fraud

AARP Article: Beware of Medicare Open Enrollment Scams