Senior Resources » 10 Tips to Protect Seniors from Fraud, Scams, & Internet Spam

10 Tips to Protect Seniors from Fraud, Scams, & Internet Spam

internet safety

The Internet is part of daily life for people of all ages. It has opened up a world of possibilities, keeps us connected to family and friends who are far away, and brings us instant info on pretty much anything and everything.


As a senior, embracing the digital age can be exciting and empowering. However, while it’s an excellent resource and useful tool, certain risks do come with it. Unfortunately, seniors are particularly vulnerable to those risks. According to the National Council on Aging, last year, there were 92,371 older victims of fraud resulting in $1.7 billion in losses. Included in these cases of fraud were government impersonation scams, computer tech support scams, and lottery and sweepstakes scams, among many others both online and off.

Learn how to stay safe and protect yourself from fraud, scams, and Internet spam with these 10 tips.


1. Use Strong Passwords

typing on computer in lap on the internet

Create strong and unique passwords for your email, social media accounts, and financial applications. It may be tempting to use an easy-to-remember password but keep it secure by using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use the same password on more than one account, and use multi-factor authentication where possible. Avoid using easy-to-guess information like your name or birthdate.

2. Beware of Suspicious Emails

email phone internet

Be cautious of suspicious emails, messages, or calls asking for personal information. Legitimate organizations will never ask you to provide sensitive details like your Social Security number or banking information through unsecured channels.

3. Be Cautious When Downloading Files

downloading art depiction on the internet

Be careful when downloading any attachments from email or web pages, even if it is from a known source. Attachments can contain viruses, malware, or any other form of malicious software that may damage your computer or steal your identity. Always scan downloaded files for viruses or malware before opening them.

4. Protect Your Personal Info

credit card

Never share your personal and financial information such as your social security or credit card number with anyone you don’t know or over an unsecured website. Always look for the padlock symbol in your browser’s address bar to verify if the site is secure, and the web address starts with “https://” as opposed to “http://.”


5. Update Your Software

man in jean jacket on a computer

Keep your computer and software up to date. Make sure that you enable automatic updates on your computer or at least manually check for updates frequently. These updates often contain important fixes for vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

6. Secure Your WiFi

man pointing to computer

Your WiFi network should have a strong password and encryption to prevent unauthorized access to your connection. This will also keep your person information that much safer.

7. Shop Safe

shopping on phone with app

When shopping online, be sure to stick with reputable websites. Steer clear of following purchase links from pop-up ads. Avoid making purchases on public WiFi networks, which are less secure than your private network at home.

8. Practice Safety on Social Media

woman on phone

Privacy settings exist on every social media platform. You can use them to control who can see your posts and personal information. Do not share too much and avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know.

9. Bank Safe

2023 computer

When accessing your bank accounts or making financial transactions online, ensure you are using secure and trusted websites. Look for the padlock symbol and verify the website’s authenticity. Also, don’t access your bank account on public WiFi networks.


10. If Something Seems Too Good to be True – It Probably Is

you won scam

Trust your instincts. If you’re unsure about a website, email, or offer, seek advice from a trusted friend or family member before proceeding. Read up on the latest online scams and techniques that hackers use on the internet. Stay informed about the latest security updates, and use reputable resources to learn as much as you can about online security.

Looking for Something Else?

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For more great articles, check out our blog:

Do you need help with retirement planning? Then check out Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch.

Originally published May 26, 2023

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