Email Safety for Seniors (and the Rest of Us) – Family Caregiver Quick Tip

Many seniors took their time in adopting technology such as smartphones and getting online in general.

Fortunately, most are now realizing the benefits and frequently communicating with family, friends and others via email.

They can use a traditional computer or a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone.

The challenge continues to be keeping them and their private information safe during their time spent interfacing with technology.

Email, especially, can be a source of scams and malware for all segments of the population.

Seniors, who are unsuspecting and give away more information than they should, can be even more susceptible. They are trusting and unknowingly too forthcoming with items such as social security numbers and passwords.

How to Keep Seniors Safe When Viewing Emails

According to recent Pew Research reports, such as those Barry often discusses with us, seniors in growing numbers are getting connected and active on the web.

Older adults are keeping up with family and friends via email not only on their home computers but now on smartphones.

Here are a few tips, really reminders, to stay safe when using email:

  1. Never open an email from someone you don’t know. It is very tempting, after all it came to the phone in your pocket, but don’t do it. These are all too often filled with scam offers and viruses that you don’t want.
  2. Don’t give any personal information out through email, including address, social security numbers, passwords or any other private information. Your bank or Credit Card Company should never contact you via email to get information. Don’t even share this personal information with family via email since it can end up in the wrong hands.
  3. Remember that emails are written in ink and can be forwarded to anyone. Be careful what you say because chances are the email you least want others to see will be forwarded all around. Think twice sending an email complaining about your neighbors’ misdeeds or your family arguments — it might just come back around to you.
  4. Don’t open attachments unless you know who is sending it AND you are expecting that from them. Attachments can infect your computer and may come in emails that look like they are from a friend or family member.
  5. Don’t be tempted to click on websites contained in emails. If you want to visit a website identified in an email, type the address directly in the browser because emailed links can mask the real destination and send you to a site with malicious intent.

Additional Resources