Keeping adults safe

"I’d like to know how I can stay safe."

Keeping safe online

The internet offers a wide range of tools to help you with day-to-day tasks, including:

  • online banking
  • keeping in contact with people
  • finding places to visit
  • getting information on matters that are important to you.

While the majority of the internet is safe, you need to be aware of the risks to you and take steps to make sure you stay safe. We’ve put together some top tips to help you.

Protecting your computer

Make sure you have internet security installed on your computer and that it is kept up to date. This will reduce the chance of hackers and criminals getting access your information. It will also stop viruses attacking your computer.
Install Windows updates as soon as possible and also keep your internet browser up to date. This will make sure you always have the latest security updates for this software. Learn how to check for windows updates on the Microsoft website.
Check that you have a firewall on your computer. This stops other people from accessing your computer when you are using the same network.
Backup important data on another device to make sure you do not lose it if your computer is hacked or stops working.

You can learn more about protecting your computer on the National Cyber Security Centre website.


You’ll be asked to set up a password for many of the things you want to do online, such as create a social media account or buy something in an online shop. Here’s some advice on password safety:

Always use a password that is not easy for someone to guess. A combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, such as a question mark, works best.
Use a different password for every internet account you create.
Make sure you change your passwords regularly to reduce the likelihood of someone guessing them.
Consider using a password manager to help you remember your passwords. This stores them in one, easy-to-access location and is safer than you writing them down. Find out more about password managers on the National Cyber Security Centre website.

You can find out more about creating safe passwords on the Get Safe Online website.

Social media

Social media is a great way to connect with family and friends as well as finding like-minded people who share the same interests. Here’s a few tips to stay safe:

Check the privacy settings for any social media accounts you have. Make sure your details are not automatically being shared without you knowing.
Be careful when you create a social media post or add a comment - never give out personal data, such as your address or phone number.
Check the background of any photographs you share to make sure they don't give away anything about you, such as your address.
Make sure a friend invitation is definitely from your friend before you accept it. Some fraudsters create fake accounts to try to trick somebody into giving them personal information. Only befriend or follow people you know and trust.

You can learn more about how to use social media safely on the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Online shopping

Take care with smaller, unknown retail sites as they could be fake. These sites often have poor spelling and grammar too. You could check a dedicated review site, such as Trust Pilot, to see if they are a trustworthy retailer.
Check that there is a postal address. By law all traders must provide this.
Spend 10 minutes looking at customer reviews for anything you are thinking of buying. Reviews with photos are particularly useful to help check if the product is what you expect it to be.
Be smart. If you find a deal that looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Check that the website you are buying from is secure. You should see a padlock in the address bar next to the website address.
Use a credit card wherever possible. By law credit card companies must protect purchases over £100 for free. This means you could get your money back if something goes wrong.

You can find out more about safe online shopping on the Money Helper website.