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3 Tips for Seniors to Help Avoid Online Scams 


A senior-aged man in distress over giving out his credit card details to an online scammer

Navigating the online world can be a stimulating experience for seniors, with endless opportunities for learning, connection, and entertainment. However, the internet is also rife with scams that target the unsuspecting, especially those less familiar with the digital landscape. At Sacred Heart Senior Living, we recognize that internet safety is a vital aspect of our residents' well-being in the 21st century. That’s why we put together this list of quick tips to help keep you or your aging loved ones safe. 

As online scams become increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for seniors and their caregivers to stay informed and vigilant. Here are three essential tips designed to arm seniors with the knowledge to protect themselves against digital threats and enjoy the internet safely. 

Strengthen Passwords 

A secure online presence starts with a fortified line of defense—your passwords. Seniors are often advised to use strong, complex passwords that are challenging for cybercriminals to crack. But what does a strong password look like? 

Use Strong and Unique Passwords 

Gone are the days when "12345" or "password" could stand in as a safe phrase. A robust password typically consists of a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid easily guessable details like birth dates, pet names, or simple patterns on the keyboard. Instead, opt for "passphrases," which are a sequence of words or random characters that have personal meaning to you but are nearly impossible for algorithms to predict. 

Enable Two-Factor Authentication 

An excellent complement to strong passwords is two-factor authentication (2FA). This additional layer of security requires a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, to log in to your accounts. It's an invaluable safeguard, even if your password is somehow compromised. 

By bolstering your online accounts with strong, unique passwords and utilizing 2FA, seniors significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and potential scams. 

Be Wary of Suspicious Emails and Messages 

Phishing remains one of the most prevalent and effective forms of cyber scam, particularly among seniors who might be less familiar with the tactics employed by scammers. 

Avoid Clicking on Links from Unknown Sources 

Emails or messages requesting urgent personal information or prompting immediate action should be treated with caution. Such communications may contain links to deceptive websites that mimic those of legitimate organizations. Hover over the link (without clicking) to preview the URL and verify that it leads where it claims. 

Be Cautious of Phishing Attempts 

Phishing can also come in the form of familiar faces, such as emails from friends' accounts with suspicious links. If something seems amiss or out of character, verify the legitimacy of the message by contacting the sender through an alternate method. 

Teaching seniors to scrutinize their digital correspondences and to trust their instinct when something feels off is a powerful tool in defending against online scams. 

Verify and Research Before Sharing Personal Information to Avoid Online Scams

Information is currency in the digital age, and seniors must adopt a prudent approach when it comes to sharing personal data. 

Avoid Sharing Sensitive Information Online 

Seniors should never disclose personal details, such as social security numbers or financial information, to unknown or unverified entities online. Legitimate businesses rarely require such data via unsolicited online communications. 

Verify the Legitimacy of Websites and Organizations 

Before providing any personal information, ensure that the website is secure. Look for "https" in the URL, which indicates a secure connection. Research unfamiliar organizations to confirm their existence and reputation, and double-check any contact information provided to ensure it aligns with official records. 

Empowering seniors to conduct due diligence before sharing any information online is an invaluable skill that can prevent identity theft and financial loss. 

Tour Sacred Heart Senior Living Today 

With this list of three incredible tips for online safety and scam avoidance, you or your aging loved one will be plenty safe while browsing the web. If part of your web browsing is searching for the Lehigh Valley’s most trusted senior living facility, the team here at Sacred Heart Senior Living would love to end it today! With our team of expert caregivers and beautiful facilities in Northampton and Saucon Valley, we provide the Lehigh Valley with some of the best senior care and independent living in Northampton County.  

Don’t believe us? Find out for yourself — just schedule your free tour of our facilities online or by dialing 610-814-2700 today! 

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