Protecting the Elderly Online

Senior citizens are more active and involved than ever before. These days, the Golden Years are spent living much the same lifestyle that seniors enjoyed before retirement. Most seniors are now wired to the internet, and while this makes it easy to shop, stay in touch with family, and find information, it also opens them up to being victims of fraud. The elderly are especially vulnerable to Internet scams, as they tend to be more trusting and less informed. However, there are ways to help protect your parent or loved one.

A Senior on the Computer

Knowledge is Power

The number one way to help your elderly parent stay safe on the web is to educate them. While younger generations have grown up with the internet in our homes, our parents did not. They aren’t savvy about much of what goes on online. By pointing out the types of scams and fraud that they are likely to encounter on the web, you can educate your elderly parent and arm them with ways to avoid being taken advantage of by scammers.

Spend some time sitting at the computer with your parent. Visit and show them how to use it to find the latest scams making their way around the net.  Show them examples of the fraud they’re most likely to see. Because seniors use email more than any other feature of being online, show them Nigerian scam emails, investment schemes, and lottery scams. Knowing about these common emails before they seem them in their inbox will help them know fraud when they see it.

Security Software

You can’t sit with your elderly parent every moment they’re online, but you can be sure that their computer is protected by security software.  Work with your parent to install software to protect their computer from viruses, spyware and other Internet bad guys.

Security software is classified into various types, but all are important. Be sure that you install antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and firewalls. Each type focuses on a specific security threat. After installation, set the software to automatically update itself regularly.

The internet makes life easier for senior citizens, but it also makes them more vulnerable. By educating your elderly parents about internet safety you can help them protect themselves and their personal information from scammers and those intent on defrauding them out of their money.

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