There are more ‘silversurfers’ than ever before - according to the Office for National Statistics, almost 75% of adults aged 65+ use the internet.
This generation is logging on more than ever to keep in touch with friends and family – emailing, using Skype and Facebook. They’re also using it for leisure – anything from booking holidays and shopping online to interacting on social forums.
But statistics also show that the over 75s in particular are more at risk of being targeted by internet fraudsters.
A few simple steps can really make a difference. As part of #GetSafeOnlineWeek we’ve highlighted some tips to help older people stay safe online.
Create a strong password – your password is your first line of defence so don’t be tempted to use the same one for all accounts. Mix it up - use a combination of letters, capitals and numbers and don’t be tempted to use things which would be easy to guess eg. Your birthday or favourite football team. If you can’t remember your passwords, keep them somewhere really safe that won’t be obvious to find.
Be aware of what you share – Be careful not to divulge too much personal information on social media as scammers can easily piece this together – your date of birth, your address etc. It’s also worth checking the privacy settings on your social media accounts so that only people you want to share your information with can see it.
Manage your messages – Don’t open any emails or respond to any social media messages that look suspicious. Don’t ever give out personal information, including banking and credit card numbers, to anyone you don’t know.
Secure your software - Make sure your computer has all the security it needs as well as a security updating system. There are many anti-virus programs available, ranging from expensive to free, so check with a trusted source who is knowledgeable about computers.
Savvy shopping – Make sure you are buying from reputable sources. Do your homework on the individual or company to make sure they’re legitimate. If in doubt, get a second opinion from someone you trust. If you’re using an auction site like eBay, never transfer any money directly to a bank account or hand over any personal details.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might have been scammed or if you know someone who has been affected by fraudsters, make sure to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Home Instead Senior Care runs scam awareness workshops around the country, contact your local office to find out more. You can also read more advice around scams in the Home Instead Senior Care information and resources section here.