Safety tips and information for elderly surfers

May, 2013

As active as some of your elderly relatives may be, we’re not talking about them grabbing a board and heading for the beach; we’re referring to surfing the internet. Something more and more seniors are getting into.

Today we’d like to address some of the safety issues surrounding internet usage and provide some advice for elderly people, and their families, on basic internet safety for seniors.

Although a wonderful place, the truth is the elderly are more at risk from internet related crime which can lead to identity theft, fraud and bogus charity schemes to name but a few. If you have a silver surfer in your life please pass this on to the elderly; information to ‘surf safe’!

  1. Don’t give out personal information via email, phone or mail unless you initiate the contact

  2. Don’t respond to Internet solicitations for money for charity or an investment

  3. Have an anti-virus / security suite running

  4. Keep your operating system and all software up to date

  5. Deal only with reputable companies online for purchases (when in doubt, look for a phone number and call to judge their credibility or investigate the company prior to purchase)

  6. Consider using an online mail program like Gmail over a desktop email application; they block spam more effectively

  7. Do not open attachments from people you don’t know (although attachments from people you know still pose a risk)

  8. Be wary of suggestions that you have won a contest, sweepstakes or prize. You should never have to send money or fees to claim prizes and you should never divulge account information to receive your ‘winnings’

  9. Be wary of claims for low-cost insurance or medications

If you have been a victim of fraud or an online scam of any sort, do not be embarrassed, instead report it to local law enforcement or the relevant authorities immediately.

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