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Internet safety information for elderly surfers

May, 2013

Over recent years technology has seeped into the lives of every generation. Even though the internet might be younger than you, and most definitely younger than the relative you provide elderly care help for, it has opened the doors for many senior citizens to plan holidays, access records, stay in touch with friends and family, as well as support hobbies and entertainment interests.

But with anything in life, it does not come without its dangers. The internet is fantastic tool but security issues do mean that some people do not feel safe using it. However, if you know what you’re doing and what to look out for, the internet can be a real asset to the elderly.

To help get your relative started, here is some internet safety information elderly surfers will appreciate – pass it on to your friends and family so they can all get the best out of the WWW.

  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. Always.

  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. If you never entered a lottery, you did not win the lottery. Such scams ask you to provide your information and bank account number so they can transfer your prize money. Don’t. The result is an empty bank account 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

  10. The smarter scams often contain text warning you against fraud. They do this because many people believe that an e-mail that warns them to be careful must be legitimate. That is not always true. This also extends to sites that claim they have protections in place for your privacy and security. Anybody can make these claims, but only certain sites protect you.

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