The holiday shopping season here and more people are turning to the internet to find great deals on gifts. As online shopping becomes more commonplace, even seniors are searching the web for the hottest sales. Seniors can find great savings on amazing gifts, all without leaving their homes. However, identity thieves and scammers are also on the hunt, and they’re looking for victims to target for cybercrimes. Here are four tips from the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. on how you can protect seniors who are shopping online.
Be Wary of Deals to Good to Be True
Just like when you’re shopping for things in person, seniors need to be on guard against deals that are too good to be true. There are many scammers online who sell counterfeit goods or simply take payments without ever sending out a product. In the hustle of the holiday season, scammers gamble that some shoppers won’t notice that one small gift never arrived. And sometimes, it becomes impossible to get a hold of a vendor when you want to request a refund, or you want to make a return. The internet has some fantastic deals, but if it sounds too good to be true, be sure seniors know to double-check before they click “buy.”
Use Different Passwords for Each Site
Internet passwords are one of those annoying parts of modern life. Many seniors make the mistake of having a password that’s easy to guess or using the same password on multiple sites. To protect their financial information and privacy, seniors should use a different password for every website. This strategy protects the user from a situation where one of the sites they used for holiday shopping was hacked. If you use the same password on every website, if a hacker or scammer can break into one site, they can access all your other accounts, such as email, banking, etc. Consider using a program like LifeLock or the built-in password generator on Google Chrome to prevent seniors from using the same password on every site.
Teach Seniors About Phishing Attacks
Online scammers often convince people to give away their login information by using phishing attacks. This tactic involves an email that looks very similar to something official from a commonly used online brand. The message tells the user to go to a site to fix an account issue, and that they need to enter their login information first. The thing is, the site isn’t for the service, and the user has unwittingly given away their login information. You can typically tell a phishing attack by looking at the URL they use in the email. It will have a domain that’s similar to the official site they’re mimicking. Teach seniors to be wary of phishing attacks and to check the URL before entering sensitive information.
Install a Reliable Antivirus Software
With so many threats on the internet, it’s a good idea to have an antivirus program installed that can prevent many potential dangers from even reaching seniors. For example, many antivirus programs include features that detect the sites used in phishing attacks and block them from being displayed. Similarly, they prevent unwanted downloads and popups for scareware (i.e., things that say a computer is infected with a virus and directs users to fake tech support). Talking to seniors about the dangers of online shopping can help them avoid potential threats, but the antivirus is extra protection. You can use a site like CNet to find a good antivirus that’s free to use and offers decent protection.
The holidays are the happiest time of the year, so don’t let scammers ruin the fun by falling for their online traps. Remember, even young people with more computer experience than seniors fall victim to these tactics, so don’t assume that your older relatives will be fine without any help. And if you ever have questions about legal issues related to the care of your older relatives, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. Send us a message online to schedule an appointment to discuss your issue.