Advice for Elderly Internet Users

Date

Today is the UN International Day of Older Persons.

The internet has lots of positive aspects for people of all ages, like keeping in contact with friends and relatives, finding out information and booking holidays.  Non-digital natives need to be wary and protect themselves when they are online.

Passwords

Simple passwords are often chosen because they are easy to remember, but they are not very secure. Making passwords too simple (surname, dog’s name, street name etc.) means they are easy to guess and hack. Here are some of our top tips for creating strong passwords:

  • Mix different character types: uppercase, lowercase and special characters like % $ and !
  • Use different passwords for different websites
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.

Phone scams

Unfortunately, elderly people can often fall victim to phone scams.

Scammers can defraud people by claiming to be calling from a legitimate company and offering advice to fix a problem with their computers to steal information and money.

Check out Microsoft and Netsafe’s practical advice on identifying and dealing with scam callers: https://news.microsoft.com/en-nz/2015/09/14/microsoft-nz-and-netsafe-issue-warning-about-phone-scammers/

Email scams

Criminals send millions of emails to everyday people to trick them into disclosing personal information.

Top tips:

1)    Be careful if you receive an email from somebody you don’t know

2)    Be aware of phishing scams – an email claiming to be from a trusted organisation, like a bank, which really directs you to a fake website where you will be asked to enter your personal details

3)    Double check unusual emails from your contacts. Scammers often send out emails pretending to be from someone you know by hacking into their email address.  Often these scams say your friend is stranded abroad and needs money for help. If in doubt, try contacting the friend by other means.

For help in identifying email scams, check out these tips from Ubiquity: https://www.connectsmart.govt.nz/partners/thought-leadership-from-our-partners/technical-tip-of-the-month/