Personal Cybersecurity Tips for Seniors on the Internet

Lake Oconee Boomers

A senior woman sitting up in bed with her laptop, holding a credit card in one hand and a cell phone in the other.

Anyone who spends time online will likely face scams, malware, or other cyberattacks at some point, no matter who they are, where they live, or how long they’ve been using the internet. However, there are many scams that target seniors specifically because they’re more likely to have money and less likely to be internet savvy.

Luckily, a little knowledge can go a long way in protecting yourself from scammers, hackers, and other malicious parties. Keep yourself safe with these personal cybersecurity tips for seniors on the internet.

Be Smart About Smartphones

Smartphones bring a level of convenience and connectivity to life that seemed impossible just a few short decades ago. From joining video calls with the grandkids to taking and sharing photos of your latest retirement adventures, smartphones offer so many ways to stay in touch with friends and family no matter where you are.

If you’re not careful, though, that convenience comes with a cost—your own privacy. Like any internet device, smartphones can be an easy way for scammers to access or steal your data. Stay on top of smartphone security by following best practices like setting up a strong password and paying attention to your app downloads.

Always Check the Sender

One of the downsides of the digital age is that anyone can contact you at any time, even if you don’t know them. Just like you should screen mail or phone calls from unknown senders, you should also filter online messages like emails, texts, or social media posts and messages.

One of the most important personal cybersecurity tips for seniors and anyone else on the internet is to double-check the sender for any messages you receive. If a message seems at all suspicious, don’t click on any links, attachments, or downloads within it. Remember, even if something seems like it’s coming from a trusted source, it could be a stranger impersonating someone else to scam unsuspecting users.

Be Careful on Public Networks

Before you keep reading, stop and ask yourself one quick question: do you know what Wi-Fi network you’re using right now?

When you connect to the internet, you join either a public or private network. While both types of networks function the same from a user’s perspective, public networks are more vulnerable to scammers and hackers. This makes them a much more dangerous setting for your browsing.

Stick to private networks as much as possible to protect yourself from third parties who might eavesdrop on communications or intercept sensitive information on open, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. But if you do find yourself on a public network, avoid using websites that require sensitive information, such as banks, retirement accounts, and medical institutions. This will help keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.