For many of us, the internet has made life easier and is an excellent source of information. But it’s important to use the internet safely and protect any device that connects to the internet. This can prove tricky for some older people who may struggle with certain aspects of the web or technology in general. 

The internet can be a powerful and positive tool for older people, and is something we actively encourage the use of in our home, but using it cautiously and understanding potential scams and pitfalls is key. A recent report suggests older people are increasingly at risk of cyber fraud, with more than a million older people duped by email scammers in the UK. 

Here are some tips to share with your loved ones to help them stay safe online:

Practical tips for staying safe online

1. Ensure all devices have the latest software and app updates - these often contain vital security upgrades which help protect devices from viruses and hackers.

2. Creating strong and secure passwords is another crucial step to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of a hack. The official advice from the Cyber Aware campaign is to use three random words, which a third of over 55s (34%) already do.

3. Use a separate password for email accounts – access to email accounts can allow hackers to take control of many personal and business accounts. 

4. Securing smartphone and tablets with a screen lock – this will provide an extra layer of security to the device.

5. Back-up important data regularly – safeguard important data such as photos and key documents by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system.

6. Try to avoid using public Wi-Fi to transfer sensitive information such as card details when purchasing online. Hackers can set-up fake WiFi hotspots, which might enable them to intercept sensitive information.

7. Beware of a common scams. One of the most common is fraudsters phoning and claiming to be from a well-known IT company, asking you to follow a few simple instructions to get rid of a virus, update your software etc. What they are really trying to do is gain access to your personal details. Legitimate companies never contact customers in this way. Never respond to a phone call from someone claiming that your computer has a virus. If you get a call like this, hang up straight away.