A digital literacy and security guide for seniors

Imagine receiving an email that looks just like a message from the tax office, complete with official logos and urgent language. It asks you to click a link and provide your details to avoid penalties. It feels real, but it’s a scam.

As tax time approaches, the risk of encountering scams increases for everyone, and it can be hard to spot them, especially for seniors who might be less familiar with digital security measures. That’s why digital literacy and security for seniors are more important than ever.

At First Financial, we understand the importance of protecting your financial well-being in every aspect of life. Here are some practical tips to enhance your digital literacy and security and ensure you stay safe online.

Understanding the digital landscape

Understanding the digital landscape

The internet offers immense benefits, from staying connected with loved ones to managing finances conveniently. However, it also presents some dangers, and it’s essential to understand the digital landscape in order to navigate it safely.

Scammers often use email, text messages, phone calls and social media. It’s important to familiarise yourself with these digital threats to enhance your online security and protect yourself from potential harm.

Secure browsing is crucial. Use trusted and updated web browsers, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown attachments. This will reduce the risk of malware infecting your devices.

Finally, be aware of the different types of online fraud. Phishing scams, where attackers impersonate legitimate organisations to steal your information, are common. Another danger is “smishing,” where fraudsters send deceptive text messages. Additionally, “ransomware” attacks involve malicious software that locks you out of your device until you pay a ransom.

Strengthening your digital security

Strengthening your digital security

There are strong security practices that you can implement to protect yourself online. Start by creating robust passwords for all your accounts. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, and avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays.

Next, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification in addition to your password. Many services, including email and banking, offer 2FA options.

Additionally, keep your software and devices updated. Regular updates often include security patches that protect against new threats.

Ensure your operating system, applications, and antivirus software are always up to date.

Lastly, create backups of important data regularly to protect against data loss due to cyberattacks or hardware failures.

Spotting and avoiding scams

Spotting and avoiding scams

Scammers frequently target seniors and others who may be more susceptible, especially during tax season. While it’s essential to remain vigilant year-round, exercise extra caution and stay alert during the end of the financial year (EOFY) and tax season.

Be more cautious of unsolicited communications. The ATO will never ask for your personal information via email or phone. If you receive suspicious messages, verify their authenticity by contacting the organisation directly through official channels.

You can also learn to identify common scam tactics. Scammers use urgent language, threats or promises of refunds to trick you into providing personal information. Always take your time to verify the legitimacy of such claims.

Never share your personal information, such as your tax file number, bank details, or passwords, with anyone. Use secure and private channels to communicate sensitive information when necessary.

Staying informed - ATO scam advice

Staying informed - ATO scam advice

Staying informed about the latest digital security threats and seeking help when needed is vital for maintaining your online safety. The ATO website itself is a fantastic resource where you can find information and examples of the latest tax and super-related ATO impersonation scams. You can also report scams or contact them by phone at 1800 008 540 to verify any suspicious phone calls, SMS, voicemails, emails or social media interactions.

If you suspect you’ve been targeted by or fallen victim to a scam or cybercrime, act quickly. Contact your financial institutions to secure your accounts and report the incident to authorities such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

Finally, you should also report the scam to Scamwatch. Reporting scams is vital for multiple reasons. It assists in removing scam websites and contact details, preventing others from falling victim. Additionally, sharing scam details helps warn the community about emerging threats. Lastly, reporting scams provides support to victims, connecting them with resources for assistance.

Financial security is imperative for your financial and retirement planning

Financial security is imperative for your financial and retirement planning

As we embrace all the benefits of the digital age, it’s crucial to enhance our digital literacy and security to ensure we stay safe online. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, leading even the most hypervigilant individuals to fall victim.

At First Financial, we assist clients in building wealth and retiring securely. We know there are people out there who want to take advantage of you financially. That’s why we stress the importance of staying informed about current scams and verifying requests before sharing personal information.

Contact our expert team today for personalised advice on financial planning, retirement planning, or to start your journey on the pathway to wealth.

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