Internet Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

The web can be a fun and fascinating place for seniors to explore, but can also present many dangers. These Internet safety tips for senior citizens can be an invaluable.

Scams
Seniors tend to be very trusting, which makes them easy targets for scam artists. Older Internet users often face a variety of scams, and they can be easy to fall for.

Most scams either ask people for help, or offer something for nothing. Seniors who are prone to help people in need are likely to fall for the first type of scam. Anyone who hopes to get ahead in life quickly may fall for the second.

Two common internet scams are the Lottery and the offer to deposit millions into your bank account. Lottery scams claim that you have won a great prize, and all you have to do to is pay a small fee upfront. Bank account scams offer to give you millions of dollars if you help the other person get to their money by providing some capital. Both are designed to separate you from your money, and you will never receive anything in return. As with so many other things in life, a good rule of thumb is that if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Phishing, Anyone?
Phishing is a criminal activity in which people send phony emails to people and ask them to click on a link. These emails appear to come from reputable business: banks, insurance companies, social networking sites, etc.

The emails give the reader a reason to click the link and log in to a personal account. When the person clicks the link, they are taken to a website that seems to be the real thing. However, the site is actually an exact replica run by web savvy criminals.

Once the victim logs on to the website, the criminals will have access to their user name and password. This allows the thieves to go to the actual site, log in as you, and steal any personal information you have stored, such as credit cards or bank account numbers. Phishing is a major problem, and the best way to avoid it is to always go directly to a website before entering your log in information, never clicking on a link in an e-mail.

Identity Theft
One of the biggest online dangers seniors face is identity theft. This is when people use your name, credit cards and other personal attributes to benefit themselves.

The best way to avoid identity theft is to be extremely careful with your personal information. Always watch out for scams or attempts to phish you for personal information. Never provide your social security number to anyone online. That number is the most personal identifier you have, so protect it vigilantly.

When you shop online, do not supply your credit card or other personal details unless you are making a purchase from a reputable website. If you aren’t certain about a particular site, go somewhere else, or check them out either by calling, going to a site like the better business bureau and even looking up the site name to see what others who have bought from there have to say. There are many safe and secure places to buy anything you want online.

Seniors can have a safe and enjoyable experience online, it’s just a matter of being cautious. You can also request a copy of your personal credit report from major credit bureaus. This will help you discover if someone is using your identity, and give you peace of mind.

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