Technology Safety Tips for Seniors
Published on July 31, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way everyone is doing things. As the majority of people have been staying in their homes over the past few months, internet and social media usage has significantly increased. Use of technology by the elderly has also gone up as more and more seniors are partaking in online shopping and using FaceTime or video calling platforms like Skype or Zoom to stay in touch with their loved ones during quarantine.
Unfortunately, increased internet usage usually also means increased online safety and security risks, especially for seniors. Even the most tech savvy individuals can sometimes fall prey to online hacking and identity theft. Keep reading for some excellent tech safety tips for seniors to protect them from the seedy underbelly of the internet.
Teaching Tech Savvy Seniors Online Safety
Most seniors these days know how to use various types of technology including smartphones, tablets, and laptops—and if they don’t know how to use something, they can learn fairly quickly from online or in person demonstrations. The problem isn’t necessarily teaching seniors how to use certain types of technology, it’s helping them distinguish between safe websites, links, and advertisements, and unsafe ones.
Teaching tech savvy seniors online safety tips is extremely important because it can save them from becoming victims of identity theft, monetary theft, and so much more.
Rise in Tech Usage during the Pandemic
Naturally, technology and internet usage has seen a drastic surge over the course of the pandemic, especially amongst seniors who are more likely to avoid going out.
For many, technology has been their main window into the outside world, functioning as their primary news source, and communications platform. Plus, e-commerce purchases have also seen a massive increase as more and more people have been making online purchases to avoid going out to brick-and-mortar stores for essential and even non-essential items.
Online and Tech Safety Tips for Seniors
Given this rise in internet usage, it is more important than ever to focus on online safety and protection. With that in mind, here are some useful tech safety tips for seniors.
Know about the Various Types of Online Scams to Avoid
There are so many clever online scams out there nowadays, that it’s challenging even for the most tech savvy individuals to identify them. Modern day online hackers have become so skilled and sophisticated at tricking people into offering up their information that it often just takes the simple click of a button to steal all of your information. Telling the difference between legitimate companies and individuals versus hackers is fairly simple though once you get the hang of it.
Never click on links that you don’t recognize. Don’t open emails or text messages from unknown sources. Lastly, don’t answer phone calls from unauthorized phone numbers where the person on the other end is claiming to work for a government agency like the CRA.
Legitimate government agencies almost never, if at all, contact you via phone or email unless you specifically authorize them to do so. They usually correspond with people via Canada Post mail.
Use Strong Passwords for Online Accounts
Most online platforms require you to use strong passwords to keep your accounts safe and impenetrable for hackers. They often provide you with specific criteria including the use of capital letters, punctuation symbols, and numbers to make it is as difficult as possible for anyone to guess your password, but easy for you to remember. Be sure to change your passwords and PINs regularly.
Use Privacy Setting on Social Media, Email, and Chat Apps
Privacy settings are available across a wide variety of online platforms to protect your information and prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to it. You have the option of making your privacy settings as restrictive as you see fit so that only certain people can view your information.
Update Your Antivirus Software Regularly
Antivirus software protects your devices from security breaching viruses set up by hackers to steal your sensitive information. Make sure you always install the latest antivirus software so that you can keep your devices safe.
Avoid Online Offers That Seem Too Good to Be True
As the old saying goes, if an offer seems too good to be true, then it most likely is. A lot of companies use social media to advertise their products or get people to sign up for online subscriptions. Avoid responding to unauthorized advertisements from companies you’ve never heard of because most of the time, these are scammers trying to get your credit card information.
Only Shop at Reputable Online Merchants
Reputable online merchants are companies that you’ve most likely already heard of—you may have even purchased products or services from them in the past. These businesses have online transaction and privacy security measures in place to prevent identity and monetary theft.
V!VA Retirement Communities is committed to ensuring the online safety and security of all of our Community Members. All of our locations across the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Ottawa areas are well equipped to help our Community Members get the most out of their online shopping and communication experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we’re teaching seniors to stay safe online.