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Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 1

Senior Security category on Staying Put at Home Blog

Do you worry about becoming the victim of fraud? The unfortunate truth is that seniors are frequently the target of unscrupulous people. The National Council on Aging notes that scammers go after boomers because they often have significant savings and unsuspecting attitudes. As more seniors take to the Internet, fraudsters too are using it to gather and manipulate private information. Though the Internet can offer a wonderful alternative for simplifying daily tasks and contacting loved ones, it’s important to safeguard the information you send through it.

Protect Your Social Media Shares

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter make it possible to connect with loved ones around the world. If you use these sites, though, be aware of your privacy settings. Some individuals may post updates without realizing that anyone with an Internet connection can see them. Unless you place restrictions on who can see your posts, you might inadvertently give strangers access to personal information that they can use to their advantage.

Look for Security Measures

When you make a purchase or payment — or just look at your bank account online — you are sending private information through the Internet that con artists could intercept. So prior to initiating a financial action, look at your address bar. The website URL should begin with “https.” This signifies that the website uses encryption to secure transmitted information. A lock icon also indicates a safe site; however, do not rely on this image alone to assess site safety. Scammers can add this icon to deceive users into a false sense of security.

Be Wary of Unsolicited Emails

Fraudulent emails, also known as phishing emails, run rampant across the Internet. Con artists create emails that masquerade as banks, credit card companies, or even the IRS — any trusted institution that might get your attention. These messages typically demand immediate action and provide a link to a fake website that requests confidential data such as your credit card number or account username and password. If you receive such an email, do not click on the link. Instead, contact the institution it claims to represent and check the veracity of the email.

Diversify Your Passwords

Even well-protected websites are not immune to data breaches. If you use a website that suffers an online security issue, fraudsters could access your username and password — or worse. If you use the same username and password for multiple sites, you may be giving up the information you have provided to each of them. To minimize identity theft threats, create a distinct username and password for each website. Also, choose difficult-to-guess words and phrases. While your middle name might be easy to recall, it can leave you exposed to scammers.

Keeping Your Private Information Safe

  1. Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 1
  2. Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 2
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