The internet is a great resource and can be helpful, informative and even supportive. However, it’s very important to know how to stay safe online.
If you’re new to the internet there are some simple things to be aware of that will help you keep safe and avoid scams.
These tips are taken from Get Safe Online, the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. The Get Safe Online website is a unique resource providing practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers, mobile devices and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.
Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully, and use a different one for every online account in case one or more get hacked.
Look after your mobile devices. Don’t leave them unattended in public places, and protect them with a PIN or passcode.
Ensure you always have internet security software loaded on computers and a similar app on your mobile devices, and that this is kept updated and switched on. Remember that smartphones and tablets can get compromised as much as computers.
Always download software, operating system and app updates when prompted, as these frequently contain security fixes and improvements. If possible, set them to update automatically.
You mustn’t assume that Wi-Fi hotspots in places like cafes, bars and hotel rooms are secure, so never use them when you’re doing anything confidential online. Instead, use 3G or 4G or if it’s for work, a VPN (virtual private network).
Never reveal too much personal or financial information in emails, on social networking and dating sites and in person. You never know who might see it, or use it.
Always consider that online or on the phone, people aren’t always who they claim to be. Fake emails and phone calls are a favourite way for fraudsters to approach their victims.
Don’t click on links in emails , posts, tweets of texts – and don’t open attachments – if the source isn’t 100% known and trustworthy, or it seems strange that you’d be receiving them.
Never pay for anything by direct bank transfer – including goods, services, tickets, travel and holidays – unless it’s to someone you know personally and is reputable.
Take your time and think twice, because everything may not be as it seems.
Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Visit Get Safe Online for up-to-date information about protecting your computer, protecting yourself, smartphones and tablets, shopping banking and payments and lots more. Website: www.getsafeonline.org
Our Children, young people, families and education team has top tips for young people to stay safe online.