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Staying Safe Online: A Helpful Guide for Seniors

Senior mature older woman watching business training, online webinar on laptop computer remote working or social distance learning from home. 60s businesswoman video conference calling in virtual chat

As we embrace the beautiful season of October, it's essential to remember that it's also Cybersecurity Month. Now is the perfect time to discuss an important topic dear to our hearts: online safety for seniors. 

With the holidays approaching, many of us will spend more time online shopping for gifts, connecting with loved ones, and sharing festive moments. But we need to be vigilant because, unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by hackers and online scammers.

Did you know that according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, people 60 years and older filed complaints of losses amounting to nearly $400 million from online scams in 2020? As a retirement community that cares deeply about our residents and fellow seniors, we want to ensure everyone is informed, cautious, and equipped to navigate the online world without falling prey to scammers. Here are some tips and things to watch out for to keep our online experience safe and joyful.

1. Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Communications: We've all received those emails or phone calls – an unknown nephew needs money, or there's an unclaimed inheritance waiting for us. It’s essential to treat any unsolicited communication, whether by email, phone call, or mail, with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you did not initiate the contact, always verify the authenticity before taking action.

2. Keep Personal Information Private: You wouldn’t share your financial or personal details with a stranger on the street. The same rule should apply to people online. Avoid sharing personal or financial information unless you're confident of whom you're dealing with. This includes social security numbers, bank details, and even seemingly harmless details like your maiden name or pet's name.

3. Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links: Phishing is a common method hackers use to get our details. They send emails that look legitimate but lead to fake websites designed to steal your information. If you receive an email asking you to click on a link or download an attachment, be very wary. Instead, visit the official website directly by typing the URL (which is the company’s website address) in your browser or call the company using a phone number you trust.

4. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly: Your password is a gatekeeper to your online accounts. Ensure it's not easily guessable like "password123" or "JohnDoe1950." Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. If remembering multiple strong passwords is challenging, consider using a helpful password manager.

5. Watch Out for “Too Good to Be True” Deals: With the holiday season approaching, we'll see myriad online deals. If something looks too good to be true, it often is. Be especially wary of offers sent via email or found on unfamiliar websites.

6. Use Secure Websites: When shopping or banking online, ensure the website's URL starts with "https://" and has a padlock symbol. This indicates that the website is secure and encrypts any information you provide.

7. Regularly Update Software and Devices: Updates might seem bothersome, but they often contain essential security patches. Ensure your computer, smartphone, and other devices are always up to date.

8. Talk About Scams: One of the best ways to stay informed is to discuss. Talk to friends and family about potential scams you've heard of or experienced. The more we share, the more aware and prepared we become.

Lastly, we recommend trusting your gut feeling. If something feels off or too good to be true, it likely is. This is true of so many things in life. As a senior, you’ve gathered a lifetime of wisdom. Apply that to your online activities, and remember that when it comes to cybersecurity, it isn’t just for tech-savvy youngsters; it’s for everyone. All of us at Resort Lifestyle Communities hope you stay safe and enjoy the upcoming holiday season!

 


Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit RLCommunities.com.


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