CHARLOTTE – The Home Instead Senior Care network collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to launch a new public education program, Protect Seniors Online, at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com.
The new program offers free resources and tips to help seniors understand how scammers operate, familiarize themselves with the most common senior scams and provides proactive steps seniors and caregivers can take to protect sensitive information.
The resources include the online “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” quiz to test seniors’ cyber security knowledge.
“For seniors, this is a time in their lives when they should be able to trust that their life’s earnings are protected,” said Carol Horton, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving York and Chester counties. “Unfortunately, we know there are people who violate this trust. That’s why we are committed to helping seniors understand the ways they are at risk online and how to protect their information to reduce their chances of being scammed.”
Seniors are encouraged to take the following precautions, compiled from the National Cyber Security Alliance, Stop Think and Connect and the Home Instead Senior Care network, to protect themselves online:
- Create passwords and make them strong. Lock all internet-enabled devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, with secure passwords – at least 12 characters long and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Secure access to accounts, with two-step verification. Many online services, including apps and websites, offer free options to help protect personal information. Learn more at LockDownYourLogin.com.
- Think before you act. Emails or messages that create a sense of urgency – like a problem with a bank account or taxes – are likely a scam. Reach out to companies by phone to determine if emails are legitimate.
- When in doubt, throw it out. If an email looks unusual, delete it. Clicking on links in email is often how scammers access personal information. Turn on spam filters to filter suspicious messages.
- Share with care. Be aware of what you share publicly on social media and adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information.
- Use security software, including updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
- Adjust browser safety settings for optimum security.
- Use your computer’s default firewall security protection on your computer.
- Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you’re finished using them. Leaving them open on your computer or smartphone could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
- Consider support. Seniors who live alone or spend a lot of time by themselves may want to consider a trusted source, such as adult family members, computer-savvy grandchildren, or professional caregivers, to serve as a second set of eyes and ears when conducting activities online.