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Safer Surfing

Written by: Adam Wild
16/10/2017

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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 www.bankofireland.com/security.

Ask in your local branch for details about our Digital Arrows or contact them directly at thearrows@boi.com

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Age Action Calls for €9 per week Rise In Old Age Pension in Budget 2020

Organisation also proposes that Government commission research on the Cost of Ageing to ensure policy meets needs of ageing population

Age Action, the advocacy organisation for older people, has called for the state’s Old Age Pension to increase by €9 per week in Budget 2020. The call was made at today’s Pre-Budget Forum, which is being organised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is being held in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre.

Celine Clarke, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, said that a €9 increase in the weekly Old Age Pension would be a key step in building towards the Government’s own commitment that the pension should be set at 35% of average weekly earnings.

“The National Pensions Framework was published almost 10 years ago and it committed the Government to benchmarking the Old Age Pension at 35% of average weekly earnings. In order to move the current pension payment towards the delivery of that target, we are calling on the Government to increase the weekly pension payment by €9,” Celine Clarke said.

Ms Clarke provided additional context to Age Action’s call for a €9 per week pension rise, when she explained that in 2009, the weekly income for pensioners depending on the State – when all the benefits were added together – was €265.44, this year it’s €273.63 – only €7.89 higher than it was higher than it was 10 years ago. 

“While pensions have increased by a welcome €5 per week over the last few years, there is no clear and transparent formula informing these increases, and Ireland is also unusual in setting the pension rate in the budget every year. Age Action is urging the Government to consider applying a triple lock formula for pension increases – namely, guaranteeing that the basic State pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is the larger.”

In addition to the proposals on pension increases, Age Action is also calling for:

  • The commissioning of research by Government on the Cost of Ageing to inform the development of policy so that the country can meet the needs of our ageing population – a similar exercise has been carried out in relation to the Cost of Disability;
  • Increase the income threshold for all means-tested benefits in line with increases to the Old Age Pension and secondary benefits;
  • Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €5 per week;
  • Increase the Fuel Allowance rate by €2.35 and reintroduce a 32-week payment period.

Pre-Budget Submission to Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

ENDS