Cyber Security Tips for Seniors
The world wide web offers some incredible ways to learn and connect through technology, but it can also be a breeding ground for scams. With October’s designation as National Cyber Security Month, Fellowship Square Historic Mesa offers some cyber security tips to keep seniors (and their assets) safe.
Seniors in independent and assisted living are taking advantage of technology more than ever. In its latest Tech Trends and the 50-Plus study, AARP reported, “Three in four people age 50-plus say they rely on technology to stay connected, with those in their 50s (76%), 60s (79%), and 70s (72%) all exceeding 70%.”
Digital communication is also on the rise. According to the report, “Text remained steady at 92% in 2020 and 92% in 2021, video chat stayed fairly even from 70% in 2020 to 67% in 2021, and social media dropped slightly from 78% to 74%. An older communication option, email, remained more or less unchanged, from 90% to 89%.”
The internet can be used in so many great ways to make life simpler and easier for seniors in community assisted living, Mesa or anywhere else. In addition to learning a new skill or picking up a passion, things like grocery and meal delivery, banking and even tele-doctor appointments can be done via a smartphone, tablet or computer. However, it’s important that seniors learn to recognize the dangers and the scams that also run rampant on the web.
The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips for seniors in Christian Care Communities (and anyone!) to stay safe on the internet:
- Install anti-virus software and get a spam blocker, which can deter pop-up ads as well as phishing scams
- Don’t accept instant messages from strangers and do not fall for scams that begin with a sad story or threat. Contact family members who are mentioned or contact authorities if threatened. When it comes to an unsolicited job offer or promise of free money, be wary — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- When shopping online, be sure the source is credible and secure. Look for the Veri-Sign or TRUSTe seals, or for a URL that begins with https because the “s” stands for “secure.”
- Back up important files.
- Do not open unknown emails, particularly ones that claim they have a prize to distribute.
- Create smart passwords (with at least eight characters including letters, numbers and symbols) and change them every three months or so. Do not share passwords.
The internet can be a fun and exciting place so long as users are aware of the many ways in which it can also be dangerous. Take caution when using the web and be on alert when it comes to unsolicited information, messages and emails. Fellowship Square Historic Mesa encourages seniors to take advantage of technology for enjoying the best senior living, but stay cyber safe!