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Staying safe online

It's estimated that £670m is lost annually by victims of the most common online scams. Follow the tips in this guide to make sure you stay safe online.

More and more people are using computers, smartphones and tablets to get online. It’s a great way to stay connected with family members, shop online, look up information, and even make new friends. See our guide to Making the most of the internet for more ideas.

The internet has lots of positive aspects, but there are things you need to avoid. These include viruses, which can infect your computer and damage it, and online scams.

Online scams are when criminals use the internet to try to con people into giving them money or their personal information. They usually do this through fake websites, bogus emails and even chat rooms.

Always remember to protect your computer and be aware of the most common scams.

Have you been the victim of a scam or virus?

Fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to fool people and online scams are evolving all the time. It’s not unusual for people to get tricked, so don’t suffer in silence and don’t be embarrassed to report it. If you think you've been scammed, report the crime to Action Fraud. The information you give to Action Fraud can help track down the fraudster.

If you’re worried something might be a scam but you’re not sure, it’s best to seek advice and not proceed until you have done so. Talk to a friend or family member, talk to Action Fraud, or contact Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65.

If you are worried that your computer is not working properly or think that it may have a virus, then it may be best to seek advice from a computer technician. Find your local IT repair shop in the phone book, or search online for nearby services that can help to fix computers. If you have anti-virus software then it may pop up with instructions for you to follow, but if you are not sure then seek expert advice.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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