Older adults are embracing digital technology in greater numbers than ever before. Smartphones, social media, e-readers, and the internet are all growing in popularity among seniors 65 and over, according to the latest figures from the Pew Research Center. Since 2013, more than half the senior population in the US has been going online on a regular basis.

Once seniors begin to use digital technology, they often find it very rewarding to be connected online for a variety of activities. Seniors who use social media sites such as Facebook enjoy making connections with friends and family and often report using social media daily, according to the recent report from Pew.

As seniors grow more comfortable and accustomed to online activities, it’s more important than ever to adopt good internet safety practices. Unfortunately, seniors are often prey to internet scams through email, social media or other digital access. Scams can involve anything from Medicare and prescription fraud, to dating sites and contests. Internet scammers will attempt to extract personal information by using fraudulent emails that claim to be legitimately from a bank or other company.

There are several practices that everyone who goes online, not just seniors, can adopt to protect themselves online. Here are a few tips to help protect your computer and your information:

• Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and run it weekly. This will help protect your computer from the latest viruses and other internet threats including Spyware and Malware.
• Passwords are vital to keeping your information safe. Avoid using the same password for everything, make them difficult to guess, and change them frequently.
• Make sure you aren’t posting personal information on social media sites like Facebook. If you choose to post your birth date, don’t post your birth year. Never reveal your social security number anywhere.
• If you shop online, consider using only one credit card for making online purchases, so that you can easily keep an eye out for fraudulent charges.

Once you’ve learned how to use digital technology, it can open up many new possibilities for connecting with the friends, family and the world at large. Protecting yourself and your information can keep your online experience positive.