More seniors are hopping on the internet and even going online to do their shopping, statistics show. Most recently, 75% of people age 65 and older are on the internet and half of the 65 and over age group is also shopping online, according to the Pew Research Center.
Like other age groups, the seniors are attracted to the internet to shop by its convenience, ease, and speed. Another factor popped up during the COVID-19 pandemic when shopping online became a safe way to avoid crowds.
But shopping online can also have its own dangers. These dangers include stolen identities, the potential to be victims of fraud, visiting fake websites that steal your personal information, and other risks.
Here are five tips on how seniors can shop safely online and avoid becoming a victim of a cyber crime or identity theft.
—Check your browser to be sure you’re on the right website. Just like knowing where you are is important in getting someplace, knowing where you are is important in being on the internet. Look in the web browser to double-check the website address, also known as the URL, in the web browser. If you’re shopping online at The Online Drugstore it should read: https://theonlinedrugstore.com. If that’s not what you see, you’re on a different website. Close your browser any time you don’t think you’re on the correct website.
—Be sure to use strong passwords. Two things to keep in mind when it comes to passwords: Have strong ones and guard them closely. A good habit is to write your passwords in a notebook to keep track of them. Use different passwords. Avoid easy passwords such as “password” or “12345678.” Use symbols, capital letters, and numbers when you make your passwords. Be sure to change them up as well. Two-factor authentication in which you get a text with a code to enter online is another good practice. The important thing about using strong passwords they are important for your financial security.
—Whey you buy online items, use a credit card. The best way to pay for items online is with a credit card. That way, if a thief steals your information the credit card company won’t hold you responsible for any charges you didn’t make. A credit card is better than a debit card for another reason: If you are the victim of online thievery, you could have your account drained if it’s linked to your debit card before you even know someone has stolen your information. Other options are payment apps such as PayPal.
—Don’t open or click on spam emails or texts. Online thieves may try to trick you by sending you an email or a text from a shipping company purporting to have lost your package. Another trick they use is to ask for your personal information, or they want you to pay to claim your package. But this is not a practice of online sellers. If you don’t recognize the person or company sending you the email or text, ignore it. Never click on any links in the text or email. You could expose yourself to a fraud and have money and personal information stolen by thieves.
—Know the return policy on your online purchase. The safer purchases are ones in which you buy items online from companies that have good return policies. For example, having a 30-day window to return your item if it’s not something you want to keep. Read closely the online return policy to protect yourself and your money.
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Senior living communities like Bellaire at Stone Port are precisely that—a community. Residents become friends and even family, and a caring team is there to help them maintain their quality of life.
At Bellaire at Stone Port, we offer both Assisted Living and Memory Care and we care with Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Residents first and Teamwork. We like to call it Caring with H.E.A.R.T.™!
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