Top Cybersecurity Tips For Seniors

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Seniors and the elderly are often easy prey for cyber criminals. Maybe they are too trusting or just don't know what NOT to click on. Use this guide and tips to improve cybersecurity for seniors and the elderly.

senior man using a computer on a coffee table
Share Post: | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Email

Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

As technology continues to infiltrate the older generations, there has been a surge in Cyber theft and scams. In fact, in 2018 alone, adults over the age of 60 lost $650 million due to being the victims of online crime.

This is due to a combination of things.

For one, seniors and elderly people are much more prone to dementia and other conditions that can make them much more susceptible to falling for Cyber scams. After all, anywhere from 5 to 8 percent of the general population over 60 suffers from dementia. In this article, we will be going over some of the top tips to keep seniors from ending up a statistic when it comes to cybercrime.

Video Guide: Cybersecurity for Seniors

10 Important Cybersecurity Tips for Seniors & the Elderly

Top Tips To Protect Seniors Online:

Use these tips to keep yourself or a senior you love safe from online scams and cyber crimes:

1. Stick To Who You Know

One of the most common ways a lot of attackers infiltrate is by sending emails to unsuspecting seniors. These emails can be used in several ways. For one, they can include a phishing link that is meant to spoof a website where you enter sensitive information.

This could be a bank, credit card, or even a fake Government website. The website is designed to look like the real thing and it can be very difficult even for experienced users to be able to distinguish.

Another way an email from someone unknown can be harmful is by having a harmful file attached to it. This is why you should never be opening an email from an unknown sender. However, this is especially true if you are talking about an email from an unknown origin with a file attached to it.

2. Password Manager and Two-Step Verification

This combination can really cut down on the chances of becoming a victim of Cybercrime. It can be very difficult for seniors or even young people with excellent memories to come up with strong passwords for all of their important accounts.

By leveraging a password manager and two-step verification methods, you will be able to secure your accounts with unique passwords and with another layer of protection.

woman learning cybersecurity tips for seniors with her grandson
Grandchildren can be a great source of information about how to protect seniors from cyber crime.

3. Installing Anti-Virus

One thing that can get seniors into trouble with Cybercrime is installing infected files or browsing on infected websites. Because of this, every senior should have a reputable and high-quality anti-virus installed on the senior’s computer.

This will help to add another layer of protection to ensure that they aren’t using a computer that contains a Trojan, key-logger, malware, or anything else that can be used for identity theft.

4. Never Give Out Passwords or Sensitive Information

It’s important that a senior understands that they shouldn’t be giving out their password or sensitive information anywhere online. If you contact your bank through chat or even by phone, they will not ask you for your password.

5. Install an Ad-Blocker

To keep your browser secure and to make it much less likely that you come across an infected web page or a page with nefarious ads, you should install and use an ad-blocker that will help to protect you while browsing online.

senior man using an easy tablet with his grandkids
Don’t forget that following these cybersecurity tips is important when using tablets and mobile phones too!

6. Log-Out

Whenever you sign into a website, you will want to log out once you are done with your session. Not only will this protect you from physical access to your computer, but also if someone has remote access to it.

7. Keep Your Devices Updated

This is another very important thing that you want to do on a regular basis. You should be looking to regularly update all of your devices whether it’s your mobile phone or your tablet. Ideally, you should be setting them to update automatically. This way, you don’t miss out on a critical security update.

8. Be Wary Of Phone Numbers

If you get an email from someone or an institution you know, don’t use the information on the email to act. Instead, if you got an email from your bank, go to your bank’s website or use your bank card and call the number listed on it. This will ensure that you are calling the legitimate number which can keep you from becoming a victim of identity theft.

9. Do Regular Audits

Try to either do an audit on your own or have a family member assist you. By routinely auditing your online security, you should be able to ensure that you have everything situated to protect yourself as well as possible.

This includes checking to see if your passwords have been breached, checking if your devices are up-to-date if you have an anti-virus installed, and more. You can also look at your email and login history to see whether or not there are any unknown logins that you need to be worried about.

grandparent using a tablet with their grandkids
Every generation needs to learn how to protect themselves from online criminals.

10. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi For Sensitive Things

This is another very important one as not many seniors are aware of the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. It is very important not to use public Wi-Fi for any sensitive tasks like banking or checking on your bills. All of the information that you transmit while on public Wi-Fi networks is going to be there for anyone to see.

Instead, try to use your mobile network in order to handle these important tasks. If you must use public Wi-Fi, have a Virtual Private Network installed on your device or have someone install one for you. That way, you can connect to it which will re-route the traffic and encrypt it to avoid exposing it to prying eyes.

Wrapping Up

Overall, there are so many different ways to become a victim of Cybercrime. As a senior, you need to be educated on the different ways you are at risk. It is important for you to maintain a high level of digital literacy. If the senior is unable to do so by his/herself, the caregiver should be looking to properly implement some of the tips above to ensure they are protected online.

There are new scams being introduced on a daily basis. Therefore, you have to constantly be on the lookout for new ways to become a victim. While there is nothing that will protect you 100 percent, by using the tips above, you should be able to put yourself in the best position to avoid becoming a victim.

Do you have other cybersecurity tips for seniors to offer? Tell me your experiences and suggestions in the comments below!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

Join Our Crew!

Enter your email address to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to get updates on new guides for seniors and the elderly and savings on senior-friendly products. And, of course, we will never sell or share your email address!

Leave a Comment