6 tips for staying safe online

6 tips for staying safe online

Your great-uncle got a voice-controlled device for Christmas. Now he can play music, control his smart home, get information and — his favorite — get the latest weather forecast, all with a simple voice command.

And it’s not just your great-uncle embracing internet technology. It’s his entire generation. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 66 percent of people over age 65 are online. In the 50-64 range, it goes up to 87 percent. In other words, just about everyone you know is online.  

This begs the question: With all of his newfound power, how do you help keep him safe online?

Here are six things to keep in mind while browsing the internet:

When something seems too good to be true, it usually is

This age-old maxim definitely applies to the internet. Don’t be reeled in by promises of big bucks, free tropical vacations or work-from-home scams. Usually these look great at first glance, but are almost always a situation where scammers are “phishing” for your sensitive information.

Always update your device when prompted

Most internet devices, even your desktop computer, will need to periodically install updates. The purpose of these updates is usually to ensure the most current security features are available to you. The minor inconvenience this causes is well worth the protection it affords.

Regularly change your password

This might seem obvious, but it is good to remember. Also, it’s a best practice to use varying passwords for your many different logins.

Watch out for friend requests on social media sites

Con artists will befriend you, claim they know you or impersonate someone you do know in an attempt to collect personal information. If someone requests personal information on a social media or dating site, do not trust them.

Be wary of email scams

Scammers are clever when it comes to capturing your credit card info, bank PIN numbers or even your Social Security number. They can make an email appear to have come from a legitimate company that you regularly do business with. Just because it has your bank logo on it does not mean it’s safe. If in doubt, report it and then delete.

Do not be afraid to report

It’s perfectly OK to make a report when something doesn’t seem right online. Both AARP and the FBI have set up systems to make it easy to report online crimes and potential online crimes.

AARP has a toll-free fraud hotline: (800) 222-4444.

You can file an online complaint with the FBI here: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

With these tips, and a little common sense, there is no reason to think you’ll have a problem online. But always be prepared for anything, as new scams pop up all the time.

Source: Pew Research Center.

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