Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

Silver Surfing
How Seniors Can Navigate the Web Safely

Are you a silver surfer?

That’s the term some use to describe Internet-savvy seniors. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says on its website, Baby Boomers – ages 49-67 in 2013 – embrace technology 20 times faster than Gen Y – people in their 20s and early 30s.
When it comes to the Internet, older Americans commonly enjoy the same benefits as other generations. They email, exchange messages, create and frequent websites. They also shop online, plan vacations and bank on the Internet.
It pays to be active online, but regular Internet use can pose greater risk for theft or fraud to seniors. Whether you’re online to keep in touch via social media or to purchase prescription medication, you should practice these rules of safety.

Guard your personal information

Remember, information you find online isn’t always as it seems.
Cybercriminals use misrepresentation to gain your trust. Don’t automatically trust emails from people you know; their account might have been hacked. Ignore banners that flash you’re the winner! Never click a questionable link – even if it appears in a chat from a well-known contact.
All of these could introduce dangers to you and your computer. Use caution when you share personal information on any site. Especially take care with your:

Tip: Some sites will add web cookies to your computer. Cookies can be considered both helpful (to improve a site’s response time) and intrusive (they store data on where and how you browse). It’s a good idea to clean up the cookies on your computer periodically.

Keep up with computer updates

Sometimes, a task as simple as a web search can introduce viruses and other malware to your computer. Software installed on your computer comes with updates, either automatic or those you must manually accept. These updates fix vulnerabilities and help the program work more efficiently.
Often, your computer will tell you when a program needs to update. Click yes only if the message balloon comes from the task bar on your browser, not as a popup when you visit a website.
Tip: Unsure which programs need updates? Visit, and download the free update checker. It’ll safely scan your computer and provide update recommendations.

Shop safely

Especially for those of us who can’t easily drive to the store, it’s convenient to shop online. Online security improves all the time, but so too does the criminals’ means to compromise it. Just as you’d only purchase from physical stores you have faith in, you should also buy only from sites you trust.
Read the fine print about billing, returns and shipment. Also, look for a site’s privacy policy to ensure your information won’t be sold to a third party.
Tip: When you shop online, be sure the web address begins with https and not just http. This s will indicate the presence of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), the standard of security technology. SSL prevents unauthorized access to your credit card and other personal data on the site.

Kimberly is a content marketing specialist born in the South back when Apple was called Apple Macintosh and kids played Oregon Trail on its green screen. Still an Apple fan, Kimberly spends most days behind her laptop or pretending her kitchen is streaming a live episode of Taste. You can find her drinking a non-coffee beverage on a couch in Starbucks or by email meetkimberlybarnes at



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