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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > August 2020 > CyberSmarts for Older Adults

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CyberSmarts for Older Adults

With the increased use of computers, tablets and smartphones by older adults, they are more vulnerable to online scams and fraud. Whether using technology in public or at home, protect yourself and loved ones with these tips.

Internet tips
  • Install and use a pop-up blocker. Pop-up blockers are often available for free and are included within some internet browsers.
  • Use a secure website whenever you purchase items online. Secure web addresses begin with “https” rather than “http.”
  • When conducting internet searches, remember that the top search results may not always be from legitimate companies or organizations.
  • To reduce security and privacy risks, log out of websites when you’re finished.
Wireless/Wi-Fi tips
  • Verify the specific network name with the network owner before connecting to Wi-Fi.
  • Never disclose personal information – passwords and credit card numbers included – when using a public Wi-Fi connection.
  • Assume that everyone can see what you’re doing when you use a public network.
  • Do not set your devices to automatically connect to any public Wi-Fi networks.
Email tips
  • Never respond to unexpected requests for your personal information, even if the sender appears to have some details about you or your account. Scammers may pretend to be your bank, your credit card company or a government agency, and they may ask you to confirm your account by submitting your account number, password and/or Social Security number.
  • Do not click on links, open attachments or download anything from a suspicious message, even when they appear to be from a friend or trusted source.
Social media tips
  • When on social media, change privacy settings to meet your needs. Understand that when you leave your account “public,” anyone can see information about you, including your pictures and names of your family members and friends.
  • Watch out for scammers who may impersonate your social media friends or who may tell you that they need money or unexpectedly have money to give to you.
Computer maintenance tips
  • Install and maintain an anti-virus and anti-spyware program. Set the program to update automatically or check regularly for updates because new viruses are launched all the time. Do not buy protection software and services based on telephone calls, pop-up advertisements, unexpected virus warnings or email messages claiming that your device has a virus. They are probably scams.
  • Visit for a list of free security products that scan for and detect malware.
For more tips, information and resources, view the Ohio Attorney General’s new publication, CyberSmarts for Older Adults.

Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.