A presentation on staying safe while using the internet was given recently at the Greenfield Public Library.
Community Engagement and Evidence Based Specialist Nikki Corderman with Connections Area Agency on Aging gave the class, which was called “Protecting Your Information Online.”
“Connections started with this Older Adults Technology Services program. Technology has become such an integral part of our day-to-day processes that a lot of our senior populations doesn’t understand technology,” Corderman said. “That’s what Senior Planet does — they provide programs to seniors to help them become better familiar with technology.”
The most recent class primarily included an array of topics.
Corderman explained there are a few key concepts that the class covered:
• using strong passwords
• avoiding spam
• identifying phishing in emails and text messages
• safe online shopping
• social media
Of all of the above topics, Corderman said the most alarming one that people should watch out for online are scams.
Scams are when a person gets a phone call from what seems to be a grandchild in trouble who needs money. Instead, it’s not their actual grandchild and their grandchild is actually not in trouble. Another form of scams can be a phone call, text or email that says you’ve won something.
“The big question is if you didn’t sign up for anything, how have you won? If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Corderman said. “If the email is creating a sense of urgency, they’re doing that on purpose trying to get you to not think through that. We want you to avoid that sense of urgency and stop and think whether you signed up for this lottery or whether your grandson is really in China.”
Phishing is when a third party portrays a reputable company over email or text. They can be equally as tempting, however they’re just as dangerous as scams.
“You can look at the links, and if the links look weird, you should be suspicious. If they’re wanting any personal information from you, you should be suspicious,” Corderman said. “Again, they’re creating that sense of urgency and that should make you suspicious. Look for obvious typos, because if it’s coming from a professional agency, it’s been proofread by people who are paid to do that.”
Very happy with the outcome of the Greenfield class, Corderman hopes more classes like these can be offered here in the future.
“We’re trying to get more and more libraries, and other locations. As long as they have a meeting space and seniors who are looking for information, we’ll come to them. They’re offered at no charge, and Connections is a non-profit organization,” Corderman said. “Everything we do is contribution based. If you can’t pay, you’re not going to get turned away. We want everyone to be able to have this information.”