Senior Safety Online: Social Media

Social Media… it isn’t just for Millenials. 2017 saw record setting numbers of seniors accessing social media as a way to stay connected to friends and family, both near and far. And sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are helping users connect with news, friends, and brands at record levels. Even our own Facebook page is growing every day with new users and as a way for people to reach out with questions for us.

As with everything online though, social media does have a darker side, with many people looking to take advantage of users that are unfamiliar with the security and privacy settings. Some common scams include (but not exclusively):

  • Dating/Relationship offers
  • Bill/Debt collection
  • Password Phishing (using forms or direct messages to collect your password)
  • Contact Info Phishing (using forms or direct messages to collect your contact info for spamming purposes)
Staying safe online

Some things to always keep in mind when using social media:

  • Companies will NEVER ask you for your personal information or passwords over social media. Usually they will send a password reset email but even these need to be checked for authenticity.
  • Users will not reach out to you to start a new, unsolicited relationship of any kind. If you are messaged with offers of love or companionship this is usually a scam. There are many services, both free and paid, that are available online to find romantic relationships and it is recommended to use these instead of social media to find a connection.
  • Debt collection/invoices will not be shared over social media. Generally unless it is an online service these won’t be shared over email even and will come in the mail instead. Never give your credit card or banking information to a user over social media or email messages.
  • Always check a company profile for a verification badge that looks like a checkmark on major networks like Facebook and Twitter. This shows that the profile has been verified to be true. If there is not a check mark or verified badge it may be an imposter.
  • Some brands pay to sponsor their content, and this is how companies like Facebook and Twitter offer their services to users for free. If you see the word “sponsored” on a post this means that the brand has paid to share the post with you. This content is not targeted directly at you, but at your profile because of things like location, age, likes, or other non-personal identifiers.
  • Take some time to check your profile security and privacy settings. On Facebook you can learn more here. These settings determine what info is shared and searchable on social media for people that you are not already connected with.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. This means that when you see someone making a statement that seems outrageous or very polarized, it may be specifically because they are trying to start an argument and are empowered by the anonymity that social media offers. Generally you will engage with them and the argument will go nowhere, only draining your energy. They are not worth time and energy, so don’t feed the trolls.

If you have any concerns or would like some help living more comfortably at home, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.

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