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How police are helping older people stay safe online

Technology is everywhere – but protecting devices and accounts from cyber criminals is a task that many find difficult.


That’s why Cyber Protect Officers at Nottinghamshire Police have been lending their support.


On Wednesday (24 May 2023), the team provided free, one-to-one tuition at a coffee morning held at West Bridgford Library.


This enabled them to sit with older adults and implement a raft of measures designed to keep them safe online.



This included using their mobile phone to strengthen passwords, activating 2-step verification and updating security settings.


Among those in attendance was Margaret Robbins, who now has face recognition software and a device pin code activated on her mobile phone as well as 2-Step Verification enabled, thanks to the one-on-one support.


The 69-year-old said: “It’s been very helpful. I’m not very good with technology so I’m very grateful for the support.


“I did think I needed to sort some security for my phone but I didn’t have a clue how to do it, so today has been very useful.”


Attendees were also given an Online Security Checklist, which outlines the steps people can take to protect their accounts. The checklist can be found here: https://shorturl.at/optER


West Bridgford resident Alan Smyth, aged 71, was also at the coffee morning and welcomed the one-to-one support.


He said: “It’s a very good idea. Only recently I was targeted by a fraudster on Facebook, who was impersonating one of my friends.


“It’s a growing problem so it’s good the police are here to help people protect themselves.”


The session was the latest in a string of community coffee mornings attended by Cyber Protect Officers, with the next one due to take place at Cotgrave Library on 9 June between 10.30am and midday.


Chloe Reid, of the Cyber Protect team, said helping those more vulnerable to online crime to improve their online security was hugely important.



She said: “With smartphones, computers and the internet now such a fundamental part of modern life, it's more important than ever to take steps that can prevent cyber criminals getting hold of our accounts, data, and devices.


“Many older adults are keen to protect themselves but often doubt their own technical abilities – and this in turn inhibits their willingness to engage with cyber security measures.


“That’s why we are running these one-to-one sessions and I’m pleased that the feedback has been positive.”


Kirsty Jackson, also from the Cyber Protect team, added: “Cyber security can be daunting for a lot people but there are some simple steps people can take that make a huge difference.


“We explain it as like an online house. Your password is like your front door so using a random, separate password for all online accounts (using 3 random words, with a mix of upper- and lower-case characters), this will help shut that door.



"The back door is like your forgotten password options, therefore don’t use easily guessed or publicly available information as your answers and ensure your personal information is up to date across all accounts you have.


"To secure both those doors, add a lock called 2-step verification. That then provides you with an access code that you mustn’t give to anyone else, much like you wouldn’t give away your house keys.”


To contact the Cyber Protect team, email cyberprotect@notts.police.uk.

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