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Safer Surfing

Written by: Adam Wild


For those of us that didn’t grow up using computers every day they can sometimes seem confusing and more than a little scary, writes Bank of Ireland’s Adam Wild, but that’s no reason not to use them. 

Safer Surfing

Computers and the internet open up a world of information and experiences to all age groups, allowing us to keep in touch with friends and relatives a thousand miles away, or in the next village. We can order groceries for delivery from the comfort of our homes. 

Missed that programme on TV? No problem! Catch-up TV is hugely popular on the internet. Whether it’s making everyday tasks easier or learning new skills, the internet can help. 

However, as well as opening up lots of positive opportunities there are plenty of people looking to take advantage of internet users, whatever their age.There are some relatively simple rules that we should all follow when we are online: 

1. Passwords

When you use a computer or visit a website you will often be asked for a password. This is really important because it confirms that you are who you say you are.

Passwords also stop someone else from pretending to be you and reading your email or accessing your bank details. It’s very important that you use strong passwords and never share your passwords with anyone. 

Make sure your passwords are long — at least eight characters — and include numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols; avoid using names or dictionary words that could be guessed.

2. Social Media

On social media sites like Facebook we can share our thoughts and photos with all our friends instantly. But make sure you use the privacy settings in Facebook to control who sees what you post. Normally you want to restrict this to ‘friends’.

Also, think before you post. What you share with friends could easily be forwarded on to many other people.

My golden rule is: if you wouldn’t say it on a postcard, don’t write it on a website. 

3. Junk Mail

Unfortunately it’s pretty common to be plagued by junk or spam mail. Getting these messages isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can be annoying.

Make sure you’re using whatever spam filter is provided by your email service or just delete the annoying mails without opening them.

Never respond, even to ask them to stop sending. 

4. Computer Viruses

Just like us, computers can become infected with a virus. But these are man-made and designed to steal or delete your information.

Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software running on your computer.

There are excellent free versions available to download from the internet. It’s also important that you keep your computer up-to-date with the latest operating system updates.

Your computer normally reminds you when these are due. 

5. Phishing Attacks

The most common way that viruses get onto a computer is through phishing attacks. These are emails that look like they come from a genuine source but actually come from people looking to steal your information.

They often encourage you to click on a link in the email to get some free offer or more information. Sometimes these emails can look very convincing.

In reality, clicking the link can download a virus which allows someone to access your information and computer.

It is really important that you don’t click on any links in emails when you don’t know who they are from or what the link will do.

Be suspicious, be safe. Remember that banks will never email a customer to ask for their bank details.

Bank of Ireland has dedicated helpers in our branches, called ‘Digital Arrows’. They are ready to help people get started with things like email, browsing the internet and using online banking.

For more information on protecting yourself online visit

Ask in your local branch for details about our Digital Arrows or contact them directly at


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Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.

Age Action Welcomes the launch of the Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement

Responding to today’s launch of the Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement, Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation  said;

“This is a welcome joint initiative by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Health because it begins to address the needs of our ageing population in terms of ageing in place.  The commitment to provide real choice to people through a catalogue of housing with supports is welcome, especially the recognition that an ageing population has diverse needs.”

He continued “Age Action believes that we should have a choice to age in place which means the creation of age friendly environments, including the provision of support services locally, which enable people to remain in their own homes and in communities for longer. The wider support needs of people as we age was to be addressed through the National Positive Ageing Strategy which was published in 2013 and is yet to be implemented.”