Play it safe online
Navigating the internet has become an invaluable and integral part of our daily lives. And, with caution and awareness, we can safeguard our families and ourselves from its very real dangers of ID theft, hackers, piracy, criminal fraud and pornography directed at children. Here are a few simple precautions:
- Be sure that your computer is equipped with a secure browser, anti-virus and anti-spyware and a sound firewall, all of which are regularly updated. Updates protect against worms, viruses and other threats. Some viruses can even disable antivirus software, so stay abreast of the news on the latest viruses. (www.onguardonline.gov)
- Protect your personal information, especially your social security number, passwords and account numbers. Do not reply to emails from those you donï¿½t know. Do not open suspicious attachments even if you know the sender. Use passwords that would be difficult to guess, mixing letters and numbers.
- Cut down on spam by not giving your email address to those you donï¿½t know. Never reply to spam, even to unsubscribe. Simply delete.
- Never click on a link found in an email. Take note of it, and if you believe it to be legitimate, open your browser and access directly. Stay aware of phishing and pharming scams routing you to bogus websites. (www.antiphishing.org)
- Do not reveal too much personal information while in chat rooms or on web logs (blogs), web pages of online journals, and vlogs (web logs with digital video). Reveal no street addresses, phone numbers, or info about your daily habits.
- Know where your children go online. Monitor their activity. Set rules. Talk to them about the serious dangers in cyberspace - why they need to protect their privacy and that of your family ï¿½ and about using the internet responsibly. (www.cybercrime.gov/)
- Learn what software your children are using. Set limits. Be wary. Consider parental control (filtering) software and placing the computer where it can be easily seen by you.
- Learn what parents should know at www.protectkids.com/ and above websites.
Crime Stoppers is fighting for a safer internet. Your anonymous tips or your work as a volunteer, or with a donation of any amount, help support our efforts. Whatever you can do will make a difference. Thank you.