More older people are now online than ever before. Using the internet is a great way to stay connected with loved ones, do your weekly shop, or find out any information you need at the click of button.

However, there can be dangers when browsing the web so it’s important to take steps to keep yourself and your personal information secure. Here, we share some of our top tips for making sure you stay safe online.

Older woman browsing on a smart phone

1. Protect yourself against online scams and fraud

Online scams that target older people are becoming increasingly prevalent, with the total number of reports almost doubling in the last 3 years.

As technology continues to advance, cybercrime, identity theft, malware and phishing activities are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. Be wary when opening emails and make sure to be cautious if you receive anything from senders you don’t recognise or emails that ask you to take an action such as downloading something, clicking something or providing personal details - read Upgraded Points Guide on 30 Common Credit Card Scams to learn how to identify and avoid these phishing attempts and protect your valuable information.

With scammers getting smarter and smarter, it can be quite tricky to spot a fake document, email or website versus something that’s genuine. If in doubt, ask a loved one to check for you! Always remain vigilant online and don’t browse any websites that you don’t trust. Virgin Media 02 have created a cyber security test to build awareness and educate users on how to better protect themselves from online threats.

If you think you may have been a victim of an online scam, you can visit the Action Fraud website for support, help and advice.

2. Create strong usernames and passwords

Creating strong, unique passwords that are difficult for others to guess is one of the best things you can do to keep your personal information safe online. Include a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols and number and ensure you don’t use the exact same password for every account and profile you have online.

Remember, don’t share your password with anyone and make sure to change them regularly.

3. Keep your computer and other devices secure

Out of date computers and devices are far more vulnerable to hacks and viruses, so making sure your PC, Mac or any other devices you may be using are kept up to date is really important for protecting yourself. Your computer, tablet or mobile should notify you when a new update is available.

You could also look to install security programmes such as anti-virus or firewall software onto your computer to further reduce the risk of falling victim to a virus, hack or online scam. There are a number of different options available on the market, so make sure to do your research on the best package for you and always purchase from a reputable brand.

4. Stay safe on social media sites

More and more older people are signing up to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with a recent report showing almost half of 65 to 74 year olds now have a social media profile. These sites are a fantastic way to stay in touch with loved ones, keep an eye on the news and current affairs, and find out about what events might be going on in the local area. However, they can also be the perfect place for people to steal your personal information.

Remember that anything you post on social media has the potential to be seen by anyone, so avoid sharing personal details such as your telephone number or home address. Go into your settings and ensure your privacy options are set how you’d like, to control who can see what you decide to share.

5. Protect yourself when shopping online

Shopping from the comfort of our own homes is quick and convenient, and data shows that almost half of people over the age of 65 are now ditching the high street in favour of shopping online, trebling over the past decade. When submitting secure information online such as your name, address and bank details, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a secure website. Some things you can look out for include:

  • A padlock symbol in the URL bar at the top
  • The address starting with ‘https’
  • An up-to-date security certificate 

Ensure that the online shops you’re visiting are genuine, and be on the lookout for ‘copycat’ sites that have been set up to fool visitors into handing over their personal information. Read online reviews of the site before putting in your bank details and avoid anything that seems too good to be true.

If you have any doubts over how genuine a website is, just leave!

The internet is a fantastic place but it’s important to take steps to ensure you’re protected! If you have any concerns about your online safety, talk to a loved one or report a scam to Action Fraud.


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