Senior Safe: Personal Safety: Internet Safety-Online Gambling-Identity Theft-ATM Safety
National Child Safety Council
Stay Connected: The Internet is an immense, global network that connects computers using telephone lines and/or fiber networks to store and access electronic information. People from all over the world can communicate and share information with virtually anyone in the world on the World Wide Web (WWW or The Web).
Because of the Internet is so vast and because no one polices it, there are many potential dangers. The Internet is an unprotected resource for free speech and can be used to distribute and discuss information about anything. Beware and be aware of potential danger areas for both adults and children.
*A little data can reveal a lot about you.
*15% of people over 65 have Internet Access.
Safety on the Internet:
A ‘user profile’ is information that you provide when setting up your Internet Service. Never enter into your computer personal information (your real name, age, address or phone number). The information you provide is made available to others.
In addition, your computer will begin to collect information about you including:
*Website that you frequent.
*How long you were there.
*If you download anything
*If you bought anything.
*Don’t believe everything you see and hear on the Internet as the truth.
The sites you visit keep track of you too. Armed with your email address or any other information available on public record (marriage licenses, lease agreements, etc.), anyone can find out more information or locate you.
The computer also allows you to contact others without having to write a letter or pick up a phone. Electronic mail (email) is sending a letter by computer instantaneously anywhere in the world directly to the recipient.
Using a password keeps others from accessing your email or other accounts. A password should be different from a username; choose it carefully. Unless you give your password to someone, it will make it difficult to break into your account to get your information. Any email can be copied, printed or forwarded to others.
Shopping on the Internet can be perfectly safe. Legitimate companies provide secure sites. Most utilize firewalls (an Electonic barrier to keep out hackers) and encryption (a program that scrambles your credit card number before it’s transmitted) to process your order.
*Look for a sign or picture of a lock to know if a site is secure.
*Ask how your information will be used before providing anything personal. Use an online payment system that provides privacy from the seller.
*Buy from companies that you know and trust. If you are unfamiliar with a company, check it out before buying.
*Help avoid compulsive shopping by limiting shopping time, avoiding impulse buying and considering affordability and genuine need.
It’s no secret that older people are particularly susceptible to spending too much money in real-life casinos. One of the more common areas for senior online addiction is in online casino sites. Online gambling sites operate from outside of the US and aren’t regulated by state gaming commissions. Users are not protected as with real-life casinos from unfair house rules and gambling practices. Unlike gambling away tangible poker chips or buckets of quarters, players may not realize how great their losses are until they receive their credit card statements.
Unlike your fingerprints, which cannot be used by someone else, your personal data can be used by others. Identity theft occurs when someone knowingly transfers or uses your identity (Social Security Number, credit cards, driver’s license etc.) to open an account, make purchases, apply for a loan, apply for a job or to commit a crime.
Identity theft or fraud is a federal crime: Protect yourself.
*Adopt a ‘need to know’ approach about giving out your personal information to others. Ask how it will be used, whether it will be shared with others and ask if you have a choice about the use or confidentiality of your information.
*Never give out credit card numbers or personal information on the phone through the mail or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know your contact.
*Pay attention to billing cycles. If a bill doesn’t arrive, it could mean someone has taken it or rerouted it.
*Only carry the ID and credit cards or bank cards that you will be using.
*Keep items with personal information in a safe place. Be cautious of roommates, employees, service technicians and unauthorized family members.
*If you are a victim, contact your local law enforcement and the fraud department of each of the three major credit bureaus:
Trans Union (1-800-888-4213)
10 ATM Safety Tips:
- Keep the PIN (Personal Identification Number) a secret. Choose a PIN other than your birthdate, phone or social security number.
- Select a well-lighted busy ATM that is protected, yet visible from the street.
- To avoid fake ATMs, select one you are familiar with.
- Be wary of any ATM that appears to be tampered with. If you have difficulty inserting your card, STOP. Use another machine and notify your bank.
- Never leave your receipt in the trash.
- Put your money away immediately, count it later.
- Be cautious if you are approached after a transaction. Go to a public place and stay there for at least 15 minutes if you think someone is following you.
- Never accept help from anyone, especially strangers who offer advice when your card gets ‘swallowed’ or if they crowd you. They may be trying to watch you enter your PIN code.
- Surrender your card and money upon demand if you are held up and report it to your local law enforcement department right away.
- If available, use an enclosed vestibule with windows or select an ATM that has a station guard, working security camera, emergency telephone and doors that lock.
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the National Child Safety pamphlet, and I give them full credit for this information. Please check out their website for more information on their programming.