older woman using smartphoneSmartphones can make everyday life easier for people of all ages. These devices provide an easy way to communicate, store fun memories and look up information. Now more than ever, smartphones are created to be user-friendly, making them more desirable for seniors.

For older individuals looking to upgrade or purchase their first smartphone, it’s important to be cautious of possible scams and the risk of identity theft. Here are some tips to consider.

Public Wi-Fi

Devices connect to the internet through a wireless networking technology called Wi-Fi. Despite its ability to make internet searches simple and fast, be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks in places like bookstores, restaurants and cafes.

An unsecured network can easily be breached by hackers looking to access personal information sent over the open airwaves. As public connections are typically unsecured, malware and viruses can be sent to those connected.

To avoid the need to use public Wi-Fi, consider an unlimited data plan for your phone. You can use your smartphone’s main functions without internet access!

Phishing Scams

When it comes to smartphones, scammers are getting more creative as the technology continues to evolve. Phishing scams, once limited to email messages, now come in the form of texts, phone calls or through applications. Avoid clicking on links received via email, text or social media from unknown or suspicious senders.

If you receive a message, only engage with people you know. Never give out any personal information without asking questions first. Keep in mind, a financial institution will not ask for sensitive data over the phone, text or email communication.

Use strong passwords for all accounts, including your banking and email accounts. Avoid common words and phrases that can be easily guessed or accessible information like your birthdate. The longer your password, with more numbers and special characters, the better!

Personal Information

Never store personal information on your smartphone when using applications, especially those for banking, shopping and healthcare. Many allow you to store credit card and other personal information, yet hackers can easily extract this data when sites are unsecured.

From the information obtained, someone may be able to further access other passwords and account information. According to LifeLock, 2.6 million senior citizens fall victim to identity theft each year. As such, it’s critical to use credible apps from trusted sources.
For more safety tips and other resources for seniors, contact Avon Health Center today.