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Tips for Helping Seniors Stay Safe Online (2017)

October 31, 2017

The old cliché that individuals 65 and over are technophobes who fiercely resist technological advancements is crumbling more and more with each passing year. At Concordia, we see more new residents than ever coming into our buildings with smartphones, tablets and laptops – and with the expectation that they can easily connect to the internet.

Cybersecurity Infographic 2017 (2)According to findings from a 2017 Pew Research Center study, seniors are more digitally connected than ever before:

• 67 percent use the internet

• 42 percent own a smartphone

• 34 percent use social media

• 32 percent own a tablet

With that increased usage, however, has naturally come more incidents of fraud, deception and abuse. The problem is two-fold: 1) Some seniors are still relatively new to using the internet, and aren’t as astute with identifying questionable sites or behaviors and 2) Many are potentially more polite and trusting, which can make them vulnerable.

To compound the problem, many incidents of online fraud against seniors are likely never investigated, because the victim either didn’t know how or was too embarrassed to report the crime.

At Concordia, we serve thousands of seniors every month, whether it’s in one of our skilled nursing centers, personal care or assisted living facilities, retirement communities or through in home senior care services. We’ve seen firsthand the damage that can be done when an incident occurs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure-all for the problem. But we do have a few tips to help keep seniors safe online:

1) Use strong, unique passwords and don’t use the same password for every website

2) Do not share your account details with anyone

3) Do not click on suspicious links or offers, especially if they seem too good to be true

4) Set your web browser to optimum security under the settings options

5) When using banking sites, only enter personal information if the page has “https” in the address bar ("s" indicates that the site is safe)

6) When opening email attachments, make sure they are from someone you know or a credible and secure account

7) Emails creating a sense of urgency like a problem with a bank account, taxes, owing money are oftentimes a scam

8) When you’re unsure if an email or message is legit, call the company or organization to verify

9) Install reputable antivirus software and make necessary updates

Despite everyone’s best efforts, there is still a chance that you become a victim of a cyber crime. In 2016, there were over 55,000 reported cyber crimes! So first and foremost, DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED! It is important that you report the crime, save any evidence you may have (emails, online messages, credit card receipts, etc) and change your passwords for all your online accounts.

Reporting a cyber crime can be tricky, but the best places to start are with local law enforcement and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). You can also report it to the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging.

For many seniors, one reason for considering a move to a senior care community is to live a worry-free lifestyle with a higher sense of security. Concordia Lutheran Ministries has offered senior care for over 130 years. For more information on what we offer at each of our locations and levels of care, visit our website or call our corporate headquarters at 724-352-1571.You can also message us through the Contact form on our website 24 hours a day.

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