With Cyber Monday coming up at the end of the month, it’s important that you be cybersecurity savvy while shopping for the holiday season. This is especially true of senior citizens, who are perceived to be more vulnerable to Internet scams. Internet use among older adults is on the rise, which is why cybersecurity is more important now than ever to mitigate the risk of Internet fraud. Increasing the cybersecurity awareness and skill level of Internet users can mitigate the effects of cyber-attacks. Here are some ways that you and your loved one can help prevent cyber-attacks and increase Internet security and stay safe online:
- Create strong passwords. Half of seniors do not use the password feature on their internet-enabled devices. First and foremost, lock these devices with a password—and make it strong. Choose a password that is at least 12 characters long with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. It should not include any personal information, such as your name or birthday. Keep this password stowed away in a safe place, ideally located away from your device.
- Install security software. Firewalls, antivirus programs, and ad blockers are all key assets in protecting your security and preventing third-party access from your computer. Be sure that the programs are installed properly, and run updates on a regular basis to protect from bugs and provide software patches to hackers.
- Make safe purchases. There are a few things you can do when online shopping that will ensure that you’re making safe purchases, and only shop from sources that are trusted and websites you are familiar with.
- Always check the reputation and reviews of any online store before making a purchase. A simple Google search will provide reviews about users’ experiences.
- Read the FAQs and Terms of Service to ensure they use sound policies.
- Use a credit card when shopping—you can file a claim if the website was fraudulent.
- When checking out, make sure the required information is reasonable and necessary. No online store will need your Social Security number or your birthday to make a sale.
- Check your online statements to ensure that no false charges appear.
- Delete suspicious emails. If an email looks unusual, it’s best to delete it. Many scammers get access to personal information through the user clicking on links in their emails. Ignore emails that create a sense of urgency, such as a problem with their bank account or taxes—this type of email is likely a scam. Turn on spam filters for your email for added security.
- Don’t forget to log out! Always log out of apps and websites when done using them. Leaving them open on your computer screen could make them vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
Use these tips on a daily basis and when Cyber Monday shopping this year to protect you and your loved one from a breach in security. Our Happier at Home caregivers can help to make sure you’re shopping safely and effectively online this holiday season.