People across the country spend a lot of their time online, and Canadians aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing group of Internet users. Furthermore, among senior Internet users, approximately 70% go online every day.
Just like anyone else online, it's important that seniors stay informed on how to stay safe when using computers and the Internet. Here are some simple steps you can take to help make sure your online experience is a safe and enjoyable one.
Two of the most important steps you can take are to always use security software, including an antivirus and firewall, and to keep your software up to date. Computer viruses and other malicious software often take advantage of known flaws in your software and older version of security programs to steal your information or take control of your computer. Most software gives you update notices, or better yet automatically updates or delivers the newest version straight to your device on its own. These updates are important and can go a long way to keeping you safe. If you're not sure if your software is staying up to date, ask a trusted family member or a reputable computer retailer or service provider.
Email is one of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to target ordinary citizens. A good rule of thumb is to automatically delete anything that looks out of the ordinary. If the email was actually from someone you know, they'll either try again or find another way to get in touch with you. Find out how to protect yourself when using email.
Protecting Your Identity
Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without you knowing about it. And the risks can be significant. When you do things like log on to a website, enter a contest, sign up for a social network or pay bills through online banking, you're providing a wealth of information that can be stolen.
Learn about Online Identity Protection Tips.
Make sure your passwords contain at least eight characters, and one symbol. Watch our Secure Passwords video for a great overview on strong passwords. Then, read other password tips to keep you protected.
On Social Networks
Seniors are signing on to social networks in record numbers. Do it safely, making sure you protect your privacy. Three of the easiest things you can do to be sure of your privacy on social networking sites are:
- Choose a strong password that you change often
- Take the time to set your privacy setting to control who can see what
- Always think carefully about any information you choose to share online
What are the risks?
Entertainment, Games and Contests
The Internet has evolved to become many Canadians' primary source of entertainment, including everything from watching television shows and movies to online games and contests.
Here are things you should do to keep yourself safe so you can enjoy the experience without worry.
How to Recognise Secure Websites
Booking travel or buying gifts for family online? Watch our Secure Websites video so you know the signs of a secure website.
Scams and Frauds
It's not always easy to determine whether an email, contest or promotion is real or an Internet scam or fraud. The key to being safe is recognizing the signs of scams and frauds.
For more information on frauds and scams against seniors, read the RCMP's Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/ccaps-spcca/seniors-aines-eng.htm
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