Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Alert

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it may take longer than usual to address all reports or enquiries made with our investigation teams.

Please continue to submit reports and we will review them as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your safety or are at risk of harm right now contact police immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

If you need someone to talk to and are under 25, contact Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
For all other ages, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Fear of technology

Many older Australians have fears about going online. They are reluctant to engage with technology because of security concerns and a lack of skills.
Security concerns

  • Vulnerability of devices to hacking: 72% internet user versus 66% non-internet user
  • Details being stolen when buying online: 55% internet user versus 62% non-internet user
  • The legitimacy of online stores: 55% internet user versus 54% non-internet user
  • Knowing if received emails are genuine: 54% internet user versus 47% non-internet user
  • Online banking not being secure: 52% internet user versus 66% non-internet user

Real online experiences

45% reported experiences with viruses, scams, or credit card and personal information theft.

  • 47% of 50 to 69 year olds
  • 40% of 70+ year olds

The general fears undermining confidence (for those with no or low digital literacy)

  • Hackers and privacy compromised
  • Performing unfamiliar tasks
  • Breaking ‘something’ and incurring additional costs to fix the ‘damage’
  • Burdening family for help
  • The stress of contacting online support
  • Losing face when asking for help 

Source: Research commissioned by eSafety, May to June 2017.

Respondents comprised 3,602 adults aged 50 years and over in Australia

More findings from this research