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Digital Safety for Seniors

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it is increasingly important for everyone, especially seniors, to navigate the internet safely. Whether you're connecting with loved ones, managing finances, or simply exploring the internet, online security is essential. This page helps seniors to protect themselves from online threats, scams, and privacy invasions. 

Please note: The cyber safety advice provided on this website is intended to be informative and helpful, but it is not a substitute for professional advice or guidance. We make every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date information, but we cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the content. The advice given on this website is provided to the best of our abilities, and we are not liable for any damages or losses that may result from its use. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified expert in the field for personalized advice and guidance on cyber safety.

6 Common Scams to Know!

Image by Stephen Phillips -

Phishing Scams

  • Details: Scammers use fake emails or messages to trick you into giving personal or financial information (e.g., passwords, credit card numbers).

  • How to Know It's a Scam:Unsolicited emails urging action, generic greetings ('Dear Customer'), misspellings, mismatched or dubious links.

  • What to Do: Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. If you're unsure if the email is legitimate, contact the organization directly with a phone number or website you know is real.


Lottery & Sweepstakes Scams

  • Details: Scammers inform seniors they've won a prize but must pay a fee to claim it.

  • How to Know It's a Scam: Winning a contest you don't remember entering, or being asked to pay fees upfront.

  • What to Do: Never pay money to claim a prize. If it's a legitimate win, there shouldn't be upfront costs. Verify that the contest is legitimate before giving any personal information.


Family or Friend in Need of Money Scam

  • Details: Scammers pretend to be a family or friend and ask for money, usually because it's an 'emergency,' potentially evening using Artificial Intelligence to mimic the voice of a person you know. 

  • How to Know It's a Scam: Not knowing the person (well), vague details about the "emergency", insistence on secrecy, or being asked to send money via unconventional methods.

  • What to Do: Verify the situation by contacting that person another way.

Computer Office Work

Tech-Support Scams

  • Details: Scammers set up fake websites (e.g., fake Apple support website), or they call or send pop-up messages claiming there's a problem with your computer, and will fix it for a fee.

  • How to Know It's a Scam: Unsolicited calls or pop-ups from alleged tech support, requests for immediate payment, or asking for remote access.

  • What to Do: Never grant remote access to your device unless you are sure they are a trusted tech-support. If you're concerned about your computer's safety, consult a local, trusted tech professional. 

Help Center

Medicare/Health Insurance Scams

  • Details: Scammers pose as Medicare representatives to get personal information from seniors.

  • How to Know It's a Scam: Unsolicited calls or emails asking for personal or financial details.

  • What to Do: Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Verify the caller's identity by hanging up and calling the official Medicare number.

Travel Apps

Social Media Scams

  • Details: Scammers use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to deceive users through fake profiles, misleading posts, or direct messages. They may offer fake deals or impersonate people you know.

  • How to Know It's a Scam: Offers seem too good to be true, unexpected messages from friends asking for money or personal information, requests to click on external links.

  • What to Do: Always double-check information or claims made on social media with trusted sources. Avoid clicking on suspicious links.


Romance Scams

  • Details: Scammers create fake profiles on dating websites or social media to establish a romantic relationship, eventually asking for money.

  • How to Know It's a Scam: New online relationships where the other party avoids meeting in person, professes love quickly, or has a series of unfortunate events requiring financial assistance.

  • What to Do: Be wary of sharing personal or financial information with someone you've never met in person. Always tell a trusted friend or family member about a new online relationship.

4 Tips to Stay Safe

Online banking

Use Long Unique Passwords and 2FA

For every website, especially ones with financial or personal information like bank websites or social media, use a long unique password. The best passwords are pass-phrases, which are a combination of 4 or more words. For example "FastTurtleBitSeaweed1!" or "SomberMusicInThePool1!" would be good  (but don't use these; come up with your own). Using two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an additional layer of security.

Using laptop

Use a Password Manager

To keep track of all your passwords, instead of remembering them, use a password manager, which is software that stores passwords securely. Then you only have to remember one password that unlocks the password manager, called the master password. Make sure the master password is at least 18 characters but easy to remember (e.g., JasonLovesToFishSalmon, AlexWearsGreenPants). Here are password managers, and these are free.

Man Hands On Keyboard

Enable Automatic Updates

Ensure all your devices are set to update software automatically. Updates often include critical security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities. Regularly updating means your devices have the most current safeguards in place.

Online Sale

Don't Click on Pop-up Ads

Pop-up ads can be a source of malware, which is software designed to damage or give unauthorized access to your computer. As a rule, avoid clicking on pop-up ads, especially those that claim your device has a virus or that offer too-good-to-be-true deals.

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