People over age 65 years old are the fastest-growing group to embrace the regular use of the Internet. It allows them to stay in touch with family and friends even from a distance. Additionally, the Internet allows them to pay bills; shop do research and other things the loss of mobility that comes with age would limit. Their need for Internet Safety for Senior Citizens is critical.
But some of the features that excite and are most useful to seniors may bring risks a senior may not catch as quickly as a young person. The Internet is unregulated, available worldwide and a person operating a scheme on-line may live in another country and be out of the reach of Domestic laws. Please read this entire page by scrolling to the bottom of the page to ensure you have seen all Grandma SN’s suggestions for seniors that venture into the Internet.
Many young people who have grown up and moved away from home, forget about their grandparents, who can become lonely and become the targets of Romantic Scams. The Internet is full of shysters primarily operating outside the country who will befriend a senior citizen, pretending to have a romantic interest in them which leads to requests for money. Other scams may include an offer for something free which may result in a request for the senior’s debit or credit card information.
Some of the worst scams that target senior citizens are those where the shyster can create a useful facade implying he is part of a government agency that would have a reason to be in touch. Some of the shysters can convince seniors they are representatives of the Social Security Administration, A Medicare or Medicaid office or another state, county or local government office with which the senior would be comfortable. Though anyone can become a victim of these scams, lonely seniors tend to be more trusting and happy to have any social interaction. This leads an older person to feel the shyster has a legitimate reason to ask for particular types of information.
You should be certain the senior citizens in your life are aware of Grandma SN’s seven suggestions to avoid becoming victims of the Internet rather than believing they are just informed users. Remember, Grandma SN is a senior citizen to and wants to let other senior citizens know about the dangers of using the Internet improperly. Grandma SN’s suggestions appear below:
GRANDMA SN’s LIST OF INTERNET SAFETY TIPS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
- Some criminals will disguise themselves or their websites and blogs, to seem to be authorized representatives or the Internet presentations of government agencies seniors are known to use. Almost always they will ask for personal, credit card or banking information. No Government agency asks for that information on the Internet or the phone. And even the U.S. Social Security Administration will not ask for your Social Security number using those media. Grandma SN in cooperation with the Saafenet Corporation will be offering a free software product to help seniors receive safety on-line. The Saafenet website is under construction now, but will be available the summer of 2016. Their Internet address is www.saafenet.com.
- Seniors are great at following instruction if you can convince them it is for their safety. Therefore, if you have features on a browser that will limit the types of websites the senior citizens in your life may land on, they need to be used. Additionally, every senior needs to read Grandma SN’s lists of recommended websites and blogs to visit and her list of websites and blogs you may want your kids, teens and seniors to avoid.
- Seniors may unintentionally lead annoying characters to themselves or your home, believing they have found a new friend on-line. This will not be possible once seniors realize the pictures they see on-line may not be the person with whom they are communicating. Seniors must never surrender personal or contact information, and should never agree to meet anyone they met on-line and did not know before personally. Because of a person’s ability to disguise his identity on-line, seniors must even be careful even when they think its someone they know.
- Many seniors have lost their life savings through improper communications with strangers on-line, who turn out to be scam artists. Since nothing on-line is completely private, seniors must be careful of what they document on-line, as well as what they send to a stranger in a text or e-mail.
- Seniors sometimes have to be reminded of hidden schemes that will offer something for free, to lure them into a trap where they may be guided to make a purchase to get the free item. Or they may ask for debit or credit card information as described in the first of Grandma SN’s points above to steal the senior’s identity or empty his bank account.
- The use of secure pass words is even more important for seniors than it is for younger people. Seniors tend to use the names of their loved ones, pets, their own names and other things related to them. Those things could all be discovered by a determined criminal who had any means of finding out small amounts of information about the senior. Seniors should keep a list of pass words they do not share under any circumstances. This will help to relieve any problems they may have with memory. Seniors should use pass words that include Small and capital letters, numbers and symbols like @, #,$,%, and others where allowed. They should never us simple sequences like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H, or any of the aforementioned names of family, pets, etc.
- Social networks have become a haven for Internet scams against senior citizens especially romance scams. Shysters know seniors tend to be lonely and will turn to social networking for social interaction. Pornographic images, profanity, romance schemes and more exist on all the social networks despite their efforts to control them. Grandma SN has made warnings about attempts to get your personal, credit and banking information, but another big threat, especially for seniors is romance scams. A romance scam is a scheme involving the pretense of a party on-line to make the intended victim believe they have fallen in love. The fraudster would then use the good will of a long distance love affair to commit a variety of fraudulent acts, that seniors are especially susceptible to if they are in situations where they feel lonely. Romance scam artist may try to get the victims’ money, bank account information, debit of credit card information or even convince the victim to send his or her passport to them. As a senior citizen, you have to ask yourself, what a person several decades younger than you would want with someone your age. Because it is rare the fraudster will even have pictures of other senior citizens. Fraudsters usually have dozens if not hundreds of people in love with the same images. If you are over 65 and looking for love, find it with someone in the physical world. Long distance relationships seldom work out even for young people.