Morristown may be tucked into the beautiful Tennessee mountains, but these days the whole world can be at your fingertips thanks to the World Wide Web. More and more seniors are getting online and tech savvy, as it’s easier than ever to learn basic computer skills and take advantage of all the internet as to offer.
According to the Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute (ACLP) and Older Americans Technology Services (OATS), as of 2014 75% of seniors subscribed to the internet to more easily communicate with friends and family, 58% for online shopping, 53% to get information on healthcare and medical issues, 46% to find bargains, 40% to follow community news, and 17% to watch TV shows, movies, and other videos. These activities have only gotten easier in the past two years, and more seniors are active online than ever before.
There’s just one thing to be aware of when taking advantage of all the internet has to offer: the Internet opens up Morristown to the world at large, and that can sometimes include dangerous people who want to scam you, nab your personal information, or cheat you out of your hard-earned retirement savings. Fortunately, just like you know how to protect yourself offline, there are ways you can avoid cybercriminals and enjoy the best of the web.
It’s all too easy online to be who you want to be. The anonymity of the internet makes it easy for people to make up names, ages, and identities, or to trick you into telling them personal information. For example, some scam artists might write an email addressed to “Grandma” or “Grandpa” that details trouble paying the bills, asking for you to wire them a sum of money. If you don’t recognize the email address, or the sender doesn’t sign the email, beware. The scammer could be hoping you’ll respond with the name of a beloved grandchild, or immediately send the money. If you don’t recognize an email address, always double check with your loved ones in person on on the phone to see if it’s really them you’ve been speaking to.
Other well-known scams may involve criminals impersonating government officials, bank or loan officers, law enforcement, down-on-their-luck strangers, employers offering work-from-home positions, or even Nigerian Princes or charities! It’s a shame that there are criminals who would prey on people’s trust, compassion, and good nature, but put trust in your intuition instead and you can save yourself a great deal of time, heartache, money, and even legal trouble.
Another good way to protect yourself from cybercrime is to never open email attachments or download files from unfamiliar websites or pop-up windows— they could contain viruses designed to access your passwords or other personal information stored on your computer, or even email people in your contacts to prey on them, too. One way you can protect yourself from viruses and other malicious files is by installing a good anti-virus program on your computer and using an email program with a strong spam filter that will put unwanted emails straight into your trash folder. If you want information on what anti-virus software is reputable and effective, or have any other computer-related questions, seek out a legitimate, vetted computer store, like the Apple Store at West Town Mall in Knoxville, Tennessee (865-824-2507) or Advanced Computers of Knoxville.
Last but not least, don’t feel disheartened by the potential for cybercrime. By approaching the Internet armed with this information, you can enjoy the many wonderful things the World Wide Web has to offer, from talking to far-away grandchildren, sharing photos of a recent trip with friends, or purchasing items without ever having to hop in the car or hunt store to store. The Internet is yet another way that you can enjoy all the small-town perks of Morristown without missing out on the world at large.