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July 24th, 2017

Digital Safety

By Chris Teague

Internet SafetyOne of the most exciting things about technology is that we are now able to connect with each other in ways we never were before. On demand, we can text, video call, email, or message almost anyone, anywhere. For seniors, this can be a very exciting time to be alive, because all of the technology and devices can help us reach outside our homes and communicate with the world we couldn't see before. As someone who may be new to some of the newest devices and apps, it can be exciting to start getting messages and emails. Many scammers and hackers know this, and can take advantage of people like seniors who aren't as familiar with the technology. You can safely enjoy your new devices and apps by following a few simple guidelines.

Don't Respond

If you receive a random message or call from someone you don't immediately recognize, just don't respond. Many scammers will use advanced technologies to impersonate phone numbers and email addresses that may look familiar to you, so be careful to verify that the person you're interacting with is who they say they are. Even in the most trusted of conversations, don't send sensitive information over text message or email, as they can be easily intercepted. Banks and other institutions operate secure and trustworthy websites where people can conduct their transactions and banking, but a small bit of caution will go a long way to preventing your information from falling into the wrong hands.

Don't Click

You may receive an email or text message, urging you to open a link with important information or asking you to read an attachment to an email message. If you are unsure of the sender, do not open the link or attachment. Nearly all of the major hacking and information leaks we hear about on the news today started by someone opening an unfamiliar email and clicking on an attachment. You may be opening a file that contains a virus or malware that can infect your computer and give anyone access to your information.

Enjoy, But Be Aware

Technology is absolutely meant to enrich our lives and make them more enjoyable overall, and it can make a very positive impact on people who are disabled or otherwise unable to leave their homes or beds. These warnings are not meant to scare, more to increase awareness that there are people with less than good intentions hanging around on the internet.