How to Protect your Online Identity: A Guide for Seniors

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Computer Security for Seniors

By Carolina Orosa, 5:59 pm on

Senior adults today are embracing technology as they discover the benefits it can offer for staying in touch with loved ones and completing basic tasks such as shopping. However, seniors are sometimes a target for cyber-criminals who may use a variety of tactics to steal personal information which can be used to take control of a person’s finances or identity.

Seniors and their family caregivers in Vancouver should implement the following computer security precautions to help minimize the risk of identifying information being misused or stolen.

Keep Security Software Updated – It might be tempting to skip a software update when a person is in a hurry; however, these updates are designed to handle the latest threats to a senior’s online security. Make sure to keep your loved one’s security software current, and schedule updates to occur during times when the computer is not in use if it interferes with daily browsing.

Choose Strong Passwords – Older adults who struggle with declining memory may prefer to use passwords based upon personal information such as a birthday. Yet, these passwords are easy for scammers and hacking software to decipher. Instead, aim for a longer password that includes at least one capital letter, one lower case letter and a symbol. Then, be sure to use a different password for each account.

Use Privacy Settings – Social media websites are a tremendous asset for senior adults who use them to keep up with their loved ones and connect with others who share the same interests. While most of these sites have some level of security, it is necessary to establish the right privacy settings to avoid allowing the public to view identifying photographs and status updates. Seniors should be cautious of anyone who requests to be added to a friend list that is not known in their personal circle.

Be Wary of Schemes – There are many schemes targeted toward senior adults who may be coerced into giving their financial or identifying information out of compassion, or the belief that they are dealing with a reputable company. As a general rule, the best option is to contact a business directly by phone or in person if personal information is requested such as a social security number. Urgent requests for donations or offers of free gifts in exchange for information should also be a red flag.

By staying alert online, seniors can guard against abuse and fraud, while enjoying the benefits of using their personal computer. For other tips about keeping seniors safe at home, visit our website at www.homecareassistancevancouver.ca or contact a Case Manager directly at 778-279-3634.