Top resources and tips for older people

This year we have launched new tools to help older people safeguard themselves against online harms, including The Little Black Book of Scams, the ‘Check Netsafe‘ website checker and our online webinar of fraud tips and advice (all linked below). This was important to us because digital technology is playing a growing role in the…

Older person wearing sunglasses smiling at a beach inside a donut image filter

This year we have launched new tools to help older people safeguard themselves against online harms, including The Little Black Book of Scams, the ‘Check Netsafe‘ website checker and our online webinar of fraud tips and advice (all linked below).

This was important to us because digital technology is playing a growing role in the lives of older people and ‘silver surfers’ are the fastest-growing group of online users. But it can be tricky to navigate all the new information and emerging technology safely, especially for those who didn’t grow up with the internet. Find out how older people can stay safe online with the resources and tips below.

Scammers are targeting older people and some seniors, like many of us, make simple mistakes like giving their credit card information out when they lack basic online safety knowledge. But if we can equip more people with the tools they need, scammers won’t be able to steal from them, and seniors will be protected from thousands of dollars of loss. Read about the 11 most common scams reported to Netsafe.

Free Netsafe scam-proofing resources:

Little Black Book of Scams

Compiled by Bronwyn Groot, Netsafe ‘scambassador’ and NZ Anti-Fraud Award winner, the Little Black Book of Scams tells you almost everything you need to know about the most common scams targeting New Zealanders today. You can download a copy to read on your device or print it out to keep by the computer at home.

View or download the Little Black Book of Scams here.

Scammers are so clever, it can be hard to tell what is real and what is fake. So, to try and help you sort the good deals from the good for-nothings, Netsafe has a smart new tool –

Type in or copy and paste the web address link you want to check and within seconds you will know if the link is likely a scam or legitimate

Netsafe scam fraud webinar

Watch this video from Netsafe ‘scambassador’ Bronwyn Groot and Netsafe’s Chief Online Safety Officer Sean Lyons, for tips, advice and resources on how to avoid being scammed online:

This webinar was supported by Chorus. Netsafe has partnered with Chorus to create educational materials for older people, so they can enjoy the benefits of technology while being confident and safe online. 


How to avoid scams, hoaxes and phishing

People in New Zealand lose millions of dollars each year to scammers. Here are a few key tips to avoid the scams:

  1. If you suspect you have received a hoax email, don’t reply to it or open any accompanying attachment – just delete it
  2. Visit trusted websites by typing the internet address (URL) into the browser address bar rather than clicking on a link embedded in an email
  3. Save frequently used links in your favourites or bookmarks bar
  4. Never respond to requests for personal information in an unexpected email or pop-up window. If in doubt, always contact the institution that claims to be the sender of the email or pop-up window for clarification
  5. Use a spam filter to help block unsolicited and unwanted emails
  1. Phishing scams: Beware of any unsolicited emails from organisations requesting you to update your personal/financial details. Scammers often make their emails look genuine by copying an organisation’s logo, images or even their entire website. Call your service provider if you are unsure of whether something has come from them.
  2. Wire transfer scams: Beware of any sellers requesting you to send funds overseas. This scam involves the seller engaging the buyer offsite (usually via email) and convincing them to send money through an international money transfer service for an item that will never be shipped.
  3. Non-delivery scams: Beware of ads for high value items advertised for a low price – unsuspecting buyers make contact and send funds to the seller but never receive the item.
  4. Buyer fraud scam: Beware of buyers asking you to send the item you are selling overseas. Normally they send a fake invoice from a financial provider to dupe you into thinking they’ve paid.


Technology connects us to loved ones, helps us access information and means you can purchase goods and services from the comfort of your own home. There are a few tips to think about before you get going:

  1. Do a stocktake: Assess how many devices in your house connect to the internet to understand where the risks are and start to mitigate them.
  2. Assess new technology: Investigate new apps or platforms by checking out T&Cs, reviews before using them.
  3. Secure your virtual house. Use strong passwordsupdate your software and use two- factor authentication where possible.
  4. Share your experience: Talk to your friends and family about the technologies you use and let them know the tips and tricks you use to eliminate risk.
  5. Combat misinformation: Guide people to official information sources like to stop the spread of fake news.
  6. See something, say something: If you see suspicious or criminal activity online, report it. If you don’t know where to report, Netsafe can help.
  7. Practice safe clicking: be careful clicking on links, attachments or ads from unknown sources as they might be hiding malware.
  8. Protect your info: Criminals are harvesting personal information. Stop and think carefully about the details you’re disclosing or whether they need to entered online.
  9. Have fun: Explore the different technologies available to help you connect, learn, stay informed and participate in Aotearoa’s new virtual society.
  10. Help others: Share your online safety tips and experiences using #stayconnectedstaysafe to help others, or email us.

How to protect your digital footprint

Your digital footprint is the trail of ‘electronic breadcrumbs’ you leave behind as you use the internet and it’s important to manage it carefully.

  1. Think before you publish anything online. Once information, a status update or a photo is posted online, it’s almost impossible to remove completely – even if it’s later deleted or modified.
  2. When using social networks, avoid using language or pictures that might upset or offend other people, or later embarrass you. Take the time to review the platform Safety Centres and always use the privacy settings available to you. You can read about social media advertising on our website if you want to understand how social media organisations make their money.
  3. Keep your personal information private. Be careful about the types of details you publish about yourself and never share sensitive information such as your age, address or phone number publicly.
  4. Always take disagreements offline where they can be more effectively communicated and resolved.
  5. Don’t post photos of other people or share their information without their permission.

How to stay safe on devices including mobile phones

Smartphones and tablets also need protecting. Netsafe has put together some advice to help you protect your device against digital dangers.

  1. Be careful about who you give your mobile number to and respect others privacy by not giving away their details without checking with them first.
  2. Treat your smartphone or device just like your computer – use a pin and install operating system updates as they become available – they often include much needed security patches.
  3. Never reply to an SMS from a number or person you can’t identify (even to unsubscribe).
  4. Do not share your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number you rang came from a trusted source. Be wary of SMS messages from unknown sources asking you to update, validate or confirm your personal details including password and account information.
  5. Notify your mobile service provider if your phone is lost or stolen.
  6. Monitor your online usage if you’re on a mobile data plan, as not all content viewed on a mobile is “free to browse”. Try to only use WiFi on your device when connected to password-protected hotspots and turn off any auto-connect features.
  7. Make sure you log out of social networking sites and online banking when you’ve finished using them.
  8. Regularly back-up the information, photos and data stored on your device.
  9. Only downloads applications (apps) for your device from trustworthy sources to avoid viruses and malware (malicious software).
  10. Before you upgrade or recycle your device, delete all personal/business information.

How to shop safely online

There are so many conveniences to shopping online, but you also need to be careful about who you’re buying from and the information you’re giving out. Check out Netsafe’s Shopping Online Safely advice to help get you on your way.

  1. Do some research so you know if the asking price is reasonable. Always independently check an offer, scheme or sale before proceeding with it. Check the seller’s description carefully and look at the photos closely. If you’re unclear about any details, ask the seller for more information.
  2. Check the payment and delivery options and make sure you understand them, and any other terms or conditions the seller is stipulating before you commit to buying the item.
  3. Review the seller’s feedback and ratings from previous transactions. This is often a great way to judge if a seller is an honest and reliable trader.
  4. Choose a payment method you feel comfortable using. Never send cash in the mail or use money transfer services (e.g. Western Union) to send payments to people you don’t know.
  5. Be aware of the latest online scams.


Netsafe has a variety of online safety tips and information. Whether you’re an older person looking for video call options or wanting to find new online activities to try, Netsafe can help you.


If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. 

If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.

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