According to the Government of Canada, “fraud is the number one crime against older Canadians.” This is often due to the idea that older adults can be more trusting and usually have financial savings or property that make them more attractive to scammers.
It’s vital for people of all ages to be proactive when it comes to online safety, but since they are often a target of scams and fraudulence, older adults need to be extra cautious.
At Origin Active Lifestyle Communities, safety is one of our top priorities for our community members and guests. Throughout Canada, our active senior living communities equip individuals with the tools they need to remain independent and healthy. This includes staying safe online. We want to share some safety tips to help you navigate your online shopping this holiday season.
1. Use a Familiar Website
Today, almost every major retailer has a website and offers online shopping. What this means for you is that you can shop at all of your favourite stores from the comfort of your home.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that the website you are on is the correct one. For instance, a common trick that scammers use is slightly changing the domain. They may slightly misspell a company name, so it is difficult to notice or use the same domain name with a different ending (.net or .org instead of .com).
Be extremely careful when you shop on a website that you have never seen or heard of before. Even though many small businesses are legit, it is very common for unfamiliar websites to be set up by scammers and used for fraudulent purposes.
2. Consider Your Payment Options
Using your debit card or bank account information directly can be risky when shopping online. If your debit card information is compromised, scammers have access to all of your bank account information.
Instead, consider using a credit card or third-party payment service, such as PayPal. These options present more security and protection if something were to go wrong with your shopping experience.
3. Check Your Bank Statements Regularly
Keeping an eye on your bank accounts is a crucial online shopping safety tip and a great way to detect unauthorized purchases and fraudulent activity. Review all the withdrawals on your statements to ensure you made or authorized all of the purchases. The sooner you realize your information has been compromised, the better able you are to get the matter resolved.
4. Use Secure Wi-Fi
Avoid Shopping in Public
When you use a public network, like those found in coffee shops, your online activity is not secure. Although this free internet access is convenient, it is not good to enter any of your private information online.
Avoid shopping online in public places whenever possible, but if it is necessary, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your phone as a mobile hotspot. This makes it significantly more difficult for scammers to hack into your network and steal your information.
5. Create Strong, Unique Passwords
Many of us like to use the same password or a variation of the same password for all of our accounts, but this is not a good idea. Although it makes it easy to remember our login information, it also makes it easy for scammers to get into all of your different accounts. If one of your accounts is compromised and its password is the same for other accounts, those accounts may be compromised as well.
Create a different password for each of your accounts and make sure they are strong. Tips for creating strong passwords include:
- Making your password long (minimum of 12 characters)
- Use a mixture of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters
- Avoiding obvious personal information (such as your birthdate)
Origin Active Lifestyle Communities help individuals remain independent by offering various services and care that promote healthy aging and active living. For more information on the services we provide or to find one of our active senior living communities near you, we invite you to visit our website.