Technology is a boon for many older adults, helping them to stay socially connected even while distanced from friends and family, bank and shop without leaving home, and access information, music, movies and games. But there is also much to be wary of in the virtual world, and some seniors may not understand the privacy risks of social media and the tricks scammers use, especially with online games, to glean information that can compromise identity and financial security.
Adjusting privacy settings on platforms like Facebook or Twitter from public to friends only is just a start in the social media world. Users may also want to check the privacy of their Google and LinkedIn accounts and refrain from sharing any information that could help fraudsters uncover security passwords – your favourite colour, your dog’s name, the street you grew up on, and the like. Delete any profile details that may provide the answer to a security question.
According to a recent PCMag report, in addition to adjusting privacy settings, selecting the audience for posts can limit who sees your comments and tags to just friends. Some of your contacts may be less vigilant with their settings and audiences, and it is prudent to limit any access which could create a security gap.
It can be tempting to share photos on social media of trips or plans for travel, but this habit alerts the public, should your post slip through security measures, that your home is sitting empty. If you want to share images – wait until you have returned home, and check privacy settings before posting.
Online games – especially accessed through social media platforms like Facebook are a hazard. These third-party apps don’t follow FB security guidelines and are often designed to gain access to your profile and posts. PCMag strongly advises turning off the platform that allows games and apps to share your data. Don’t be tempted to answer quizzes that put your information at risk. If you are asked about your first car, your first-grade teacher, or your childhood best friend – be warned this is likely an attempt to learn password answers. Questions about whether or not you remember a particular TV show or product serve to judge your age. Stay Away!
We can all let down our guard when we are scrolling through social media late at night. But by turning off screens an hour before bedtime, not only is sleep likely to be better but there will be less regret the next day about online activity. It’s unfortunate, but especially during the holiday season when people are feeling most generous, scammers take advantage of the general goodwill and busyness to perpetrate fraud. Learn more about how to stay vigilant and safe online by following this link to ConnectSafely.