Recently a friend was telling me about her father who had been scammed online. We will call him Bob. Bob had been using the internet for years without any problems. One day while surfing the web a pop-up window appeared on the screen. Bob tried to close it, but it wouldn’t allow him. The pop up said he had a virus, and to call the number provided. Bob called, and of course for $400.00 they would gladly help him. Bob provided his credit card information and the technicians removed the virus.
It wasn’t until Bob’s wife came home, that they realized it was a scam. They called their credit card company, but unfortunately they wouldn’t refund the money because Bob had authorized the transaction. Unfortunately, Bob learned an expensive lesson that day about internet safety.
Technology is changing everyday. It can be difficult to stay ahead of all the threats online. It is even more difficult for those of us who didn’t grow up using the internet. This article will highlight some internet safety tips for seniors and to bring greater peace of mind.
Stay Up to Date on Security Updates
Computer viruses and malicious software often take advantage of known flaws in out-dated software and security programs.
Install antivirus and anti-spyware software, and set these up to automatically update. This is the easiest step, and perhaps the most important.
Do not keep the same password for all of your accounts. If your password is discovered, a thief has access to all of your accounts.
A strong password consists of at least six characters (the more characters, the stronger the password. They should be a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
For example, you want to use your granddaughter’s name and year of birth as your password, so it’s easier to remember (Suzie was born in 2010). This is also easy for someone to guess, so add another word to it, like your childhood dog (Rufus). RufusSuzie2010 is a much more secure password.
Phishing is an email fraud in which a legitimate looking email is sent in an attempt to gather personal information from recipients. These will typically appear to be from well known websites. A common example is an email from your bank stating that there was fraudulent use of your account. They scammers will provide a link to reset your password. Never click on these links. In this case if you are unsure, call your bank to verify. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Do you use Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites? Be sure to choose a strong password and change it frequently. Take the time to go through the privacy settings so you can control what can be seen, and by whom. Be selective about what you share on social media. Although you may be excited about an upcoming holiday, announcing it on social media could also let the wrong person know that your home is unoccupied.
How to Recognize Secure Websites
A secure website creates an encrypted connection between your web browser and the company web server. This encrypted connection prevents criminals from eavesdropping on your internet traffic with the purpose of stealing your information.
Look at the web address in your browser. It should start with https://
Look for a closed padlock in your web browser. When you click on the padlock you should see a message that states the name of the company and that an encrypted connection is being used.
The internet is a great way to stay connected. It is so important to stay informed on how to stay safe when using the internet so you can enjoy the experience without worry!