Whether you’re sending emails or shopping online it’s essential to keep safe while browsing the internet. Unfortunately, scammers tend to target the seniors due to potential wealth, memory issues, and a lack of internet literacy. It’s important to know the warning signs of scams and the preventative measures to take. Here are the biggest online threats and some internet safety tips for seniors.
Email Safety Tips
Email scams make up some of the most common threats to seniors on the internet. As a defense, never add your address to bulk email lists and never respond to unfamiliar addresses.
Do not post your email address in public spaces, including your own website. Instead, use forms to gather messages and inquiries. Set up a secondary email account for shopping and be sure to only give your address to websites that you trust.
If you are ever suspicious of an email in your inbox be sure to double-check the address of the sender. If the address or domain has misspellings, numbers replacing characters, or a public email domain, there’s a good chance it is fraudulent. No legitimate organization should ever be contacting you from a personal address such as “@gmail.com” or “@outlook.com”.
Phishing Scam Defense
Phishing scams are a common ways scammers use your email, social media accounts, or phone numbers to steal valuable private and financial information are .
Designed by criminals to gather personal information, phishing scams are social engineering attacks. Scammers generally gain info by posing as representatives of legitimate institutions, merchants, or friends. Information commonly sought by phishing scammers includes passwords, banking information, addresses, and social security numbers.
It’s important never to share personal information over email, messaging apps, or unsolicited phone calls. Remember that no bank or financial institution should ever ask you to send account information through email or social media. You never know if your emails are being forwarded or who is on the receiving end.
Protect Against Malware
Malware and ransomware are other common ways cybercriminals can gather personal information, damage your devices, and financially exploit unsuspecting seniors using programmer code as their weapon.
Only visit trusted sites that are secure and begin with “https”. Lookout for misspellings in URLs and check that top-level domains end in “.gov”. Never open emails, click links, or download attachments from emails or websites that you don’t recognize.
Use a reputable antivirus software like Microsoft Defender, Bitdefender, or McAfee. VPNs, like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark, can also help protect devices and secure your internet connection through encryption.
Malware invasions can be both obvious and subtle. It’s a good idea to perform regular scans for malware and unwanted files on your computer using a cleaning program such as Windows Storage Sense, Avast, or Ccleaner.
Report Scams and Frauds
Even if you are following our internet safety tips for seniors, it can seem embarrassing to fall victim to cybercrimes. Just remember, that scams and malware can happen to any type of internet user. If you or someone you know is a victim of a website trying to steal information or spread malware, file a report. Visit usa.gov, cias.gov or econsumer.gov to get help.
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