A few simple steps can help older people to protect themselves from online crime and scams

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With more older people using computers, tablets and smartphones as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that older people take a few simple steps so they can stay safe online.

That’s the message from an action group of organisations working together to safeguard and protect older people in Wales.

Many older people throughout Wales have been getting online recently – some for the first time – to stay connected with loved ones and access vital information and services during lockdown.

And with a few simple actions –  actions we should all be taking – including using strong passwords and security software, and ensuring that apps and operating systems are kept up to date, older people can enjoy all of the benefits of being online whilst also protecting themselves from potential security risks.

It’s also crucial that older people know how to spot potential email and other online scams to protect themselves from criminals stealing their money and personal information.

Helpfully, all the information that older people need to protect themselves is available from Get Safe Online, which provides practical advice on protecting yourself and your devices against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.

The Get Safe Online website – www.getsafeonline.org – provides a wide range of easy-to-understand guidance and information relating to online safety, as well as useful tips and updates on the latest scams to look out for.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “For many older people, being online during the Covid-19 pandemic has made a positive difference, allowing them to stay connected with family and friends, find essential information and use online services.

“But it’s crucial that older people – like all of us – make sure we do all we can to protect ourselves online, particularly as we know that the impact of online crime and scams can be devastating, often leading to a loss of confidence and a reluctance to use digital technology again.

“So I’d urge any older person, or a family member or friend who may be supporting them to get online, to visit Get Safe Online to make sure they have the information they need to stay safe online.”

Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online comments: “At Get Safe Online we know that the nature of lockdown and restrictions created by Covid19 has meant people of all ages are using the internet more than ever.

“Shopping online and staying in touch with loved ones online has been invaluable, but, being aware of the types of problems you might face from fraudsters and abusers is important to keep you safe, despite the easing of recent restrictions.

“Make sure you always use strong passwords as well as security software, and ensure software is up to date, are helpful things you can do to protect yourself online whilst continuing to enjoy its benefits.”