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Online safety for vulnerable adults

Tips and advice for vulnerable adults about using the internet.
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The internet can give vulnerable adults a wide range of options and tools to manage their lives and keep in contact with people. However, it can also expose them to abuse and crime.

Internet crime

Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit crimes. The range of internet crime is growing and it is important to protect yourself.

Examples of internet fraud can include:

  • bank and cheque card fraud
  • business directory fraud
  • charity donation fraud
  • government agency scams
  • health scams
  • identity fraud
  • online shopping fraud
  • plastic card fraud.

It is important to use reputable internet sites. Find out more at getsafeonline.org.


It is a good idea to think about safety when using the internet, using some simple techniques can help protect your use of the internet and social media. Below are some tips to stay safer online


You should:

  • install security software keep most viruses out

  • get updates to reduce the ability of hackers and criminals to access to your data

  • use complex passwords with no personal connection

  • use encryption to stop others looking over your communications

  • change your password regularly.

Social media

You should:

  • take your phone number, address and date of birth off social media

  • change your passwords if someone could guess them

  • back up your data

  • make sure you know who is using your computer

  • check your privacy settings

  • be careful what personal pictures you use and share with others

  • only accept social networks from people you know and trust.

Shopping online

You should:

  • take care with smaller, unknown retail sites

  • make sure there is a secure symbol, usually a padlock when making a payment

  • look out for poor spelling, grammar or anything unusual

  • check there is a postal address, by law all traders must provide this

  • use a credit card to pay, comes with insurance for purchases over £100.

Mobiles and other devices

You should:

  • keep your phone well hidden because they are easily stolen
  • tag your device and battery with an ultraviolet marker pen with your name and contact it will make recovery more likely if lost or stolen
  • use key pad lock
  • use a password or pin
  • register your device
  • record your serial number which will help you report if your phone is lost or stolen
  • insure your phone in the event of theft or damage
  • restrict alternative wifi connections which can be a security risk
  • block expensive calls and texts by phoning your provider.

For more help, contact ActionFraud or getsafeonline.org.

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