Social media, online shopping, and entertainment have become a normal part of daily life for many people today. Shopping, ordering movies, and communicating with family and friends from the comfort of your own home are convenient and helpful for seniors, but it also comes with new dangers as well. In 2020 alone seniors lost more than $1 billion to scammers and thieves that prey on older adults in the digital world. Today we will share with you 6 tips to help you stay safer online. Set Strong Passwords Yes, it’s terribly inconvenient to have to enter a password every single time you want to use your computer, mobile phone, or tablet, but it’s absolutely necessary to protect your personal and financial information on these devices. If lost or stolen the thief would be able to access all of your accounts, change your passwords, and potentially drain your bank account if your device was not protected by a strong password. If you have difficulty remembering passwords, keep them written down in a journal that is kept in a location away from where you keep your electronic devices. Learn To Recognize Scams Scammers really have no limits to how low they will stoop to steal your money. Beware of emails that promise you that money will be deposited into your bank account or that make any claims that you’ve won a prize and need to only pay the shipping to claim it. These are ploys to get your bank account information. Scammers will also pose as old friends via email or social media messages claiming they are going through hard times and need a loan, or they may even go so low as to pose as your grandchild in a desperate situation and needing money. Don’t fall for these scams. Verify Links Before Clicking On Them Be very careful about clicking on links and attachments in emails, text messages, and even on social media. Sometimes these messages may even appear to come from the accounts of family, friends, or a trusted business, but their accounts could have been hacked and the link sent by a scammer. Clicking on these links could install harmful malware onto your device and/or give the spammer access to your device and your accounts. Unless you can verify that the link has come from someone you trust, never click on one or open an attachment. Keep Your Social Security Number Secure Stolen social security numbers are the number cause of identity theft and so they must be kept secure. There are times that your social security number may be needed when doing business online such as when buying a life insurance policy, applying for a loan from your bank, or opening a retirement savings account. But generally speaking, you shouldn’t give your SSN to anyone online. Most legitimate companies won’t ask for it, and the only ones you should share it with our trusted financial institutions where you would expect to have to share it with them when conducting the same transaction with them in person. If you’re ever in doubt ask someone you trust to help verify that your SSN is truly needed and can be safely shared. Be Careful about What You Share On Social Media Social media is a favorite tool for scammers and hackers to use to access your personal information that can be used to steal your money. The first step to take is to adjust your privacy settings on all of your social media accounts and limit who can see your personal information to trusted family and friends only. Don’t answer those “just for fun” questions like, “What was your first pet’s name?” or “What city were you born in?” These are used by thieves to gain answers to common security questions that safeguard the passwords of your financial accounts. The ability to shop for things you need, see and talk to loved ones that live far away, and chat with old friends from a device you can hold in your hand is pretty spectacular, and you need not be afraid of it. But you do need to be careful and vigilant to keep yourself and your finances safe, and these tips can help. At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active lifestyle to improve their health. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!