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The NSPA Blog

Safety Tips for Seniors on Social Media

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Posted on January 22nd, 2018 by Sally Perkins, under Patient Tools, Tips & Resources

Seniors are not behind when it comes to using the Internet. In fact, 40 percent of senior citizens have Smartphones and 34 percent of Americans over the age of 65 use Facebook or other social media platforms. Social media is fun! It provides you with plenty of opportunities to socialize and reconnect with old friends. Still, you need to know how to stay safe on these sites.

Should I Follow This Link?

You probably come across a lot of stories shared by your contacts when browsing through Facebook. You should know that some of these links can be harmful. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t follow a link unless you know you can trust the website on which the story is published. Some links can lead to pages that will automatically download harmful software on your computer. Identifying safe links can be difficult because URLs are often shortened. Stay away from these shortened URLs if the post was obviously written to get you to click on this link, for instance by using a shocking headline or making unrealistic claims. Your contacts can also inadvertently click on one of these links and more harmful links will be automatically sent to all their Facebook friends. If you ever get a message from one of your contacts asking you to click on a link, don’t! Install a good antivirus and download updates for it frequently in case you ever click on a harmful link by accident.

Protect Your Privacy

Social media is used by identity thieves to gather enough information to open a credit line in your name or for other purposes. Here is how you can protect your privacy and your identity on social media:
         Scammers can create duplicate profiles for the people you know. Don’t accept a friend request from someone you have already connected with. If one of your contacts ever asks for personal information or requests that you send them money, think twice. Keep in mind you might be dealing with a scammer who gained access to the account of someone you know.
         There are plenty of surveys, quizzes, and games shared on Facebook. Surveys and quizzes often ask you to enter your Facebook login credentials or your personal information. Sites that claim they can tell you who looked at your profile are a common scam!
         Check your profile settings to see who has access to the information you share. It is best to set your profiles as private and to only accept friend requests from the people you know.
         Be careful with what you share on social media. Photos can be used to identify your location and to determine if you have any valuable items in your home.
There are many benefits associated with using social media, but you need to be aware of the risks involved. Take a few additional steps to protect your privacy and remember not to click on suspicious links. 

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