Social media is a great tool that can keep us connected with family and friends, provide us with education and entertainment, and more. However, the internet is accessed by billions of people a day, so it’s important to maintain your safety online.
Social media safety, in particular, is important for those 55 and older since older adults may be more susceptible to being targeted by hackers or other scams. It was reported that seniors lose nearly three billion dollars a year due to online scams and information probes.
CaraVita Village, a retirement community in Montgomery, Alabama, knows the value of social media as it connects our residents with their neighbors, family, and friends. For that reason, we are sharing a few tips to promote social media safety and help users to be prepared, aware, and protected against social media scams.
1. Check Before You Click
A common online scam is to send an email or a message that probes for sensitive information. Some scammers even go to the extent of creating fake profiles of a user’s friends or family members to try to get information. These probes can come in the form of a message, an email, or a post informing you about news or a promise to win an item or money.
Before clicking on any link, ensure that the link is from a valid source. If you receive a message from a family member or friend asking for money or personal information, reach out to that individual offline to confirm the validity of their request.
For more information on common scams that tend to target older adults, read CaraVita Village’s blog, “How to Avoid Online Scams Targeting Seniors.”
2. Use Unique Passwords for Every Account
Many people tend to use the same password across multiple accounts. While this can be convenient, it also places one at risk of having multiple accounts hacked at once.
Each account you have should have a unique password that is medium to long in length with special characters for added protection. Avoid using information about yourself like your birth date, name, etc. to increase the difficulty of the password being figured out.
3. Customize Your Privacy Settings
Each social media platform has a way to edit one’s profile and privacy settings. These settings control who can message a user, send a friend request, share posts/photos to a user, or view certain information on a user’s profile. Privacy settings add an extra layer of security to an account and can protect against various hacking or scam attempts.
While each social media platform has unique privacy settings, you must customize and set up these parameters accordingly.
4. Set-Up Two-Factor Authentication
Some social media platforms have what is called a two-factor authentication tool. This tool adds an extra level of security, as new logins to the account have to be verified. A new login could be a new device or a new location.
For example, if Facebook recognizes that your login location is Daytona Beach, Florida, but a login attempt occurs in North Carolina, they will prompt the two-factor authentication process. The first step is typically the login credentials, while the second step sends a message to a predetermined email or phone number that can be used to confirm the new login.
5. Never Trust a Stranger
Scammers and hackers always try to play the role of a friend or someone who cares about you or knows you personally. On social media, trust should never be assumed or easily given.
It is recommended to never share any kind of personal information via social media (credit card information, address, etc.) even if you know the person - this type of information is best shared offline.
Knowledge & Understanding Keep You Safe
There are several types of scams and fraudulent behavior on the internet. These social media safety tips can help, but if you fall victim to a scam or believe you have had personal information stolen, you should report it to local authorities.
These tips aim to promote social media safety to help you navigate social media platforms and the internet. If you found this blog helpful and would like more information regarding safety, we encourage you to visit our CaraVita Village blog!