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It is important to remember when you are online to stay safe and keep your personal details personal.
Being online you can get a false sense of security as you often find other individuals with similar interest in sites you are visiting. it can feel like you know people you are interacting with, however it is important to remember they are strangers. And you should remember your Stranger Danger warnings even when online.
So this means ;
1) Don’t talk to strangers (if someone you do not know is messaging you, ignore them or seek advice from a friend/parent/carers)
2) Never share your personal details
3) Never tell someone where you are or where you live
4) Never agree to meet up
5) Never give strangers money or possessions.
6) Likewise do not take gifts from people.
7) Do not log into banking or private accounts on public computers (eg internet cafes)
8) Ensure you have virus scanners active at all times.
9) Use a buddy system for support to have a real life friend watching your back
10) Report anything suspicious to the administrator of the website you are on. Including harassing or bullying messages or behaviors in forums.
This site has information for children online - www.safety4kids.com.au/safety-zone/stranger-danger/using-a-computer
This site has information for everyone online – www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/onlinescams
Reachout resource on Cyberbullying (remember you can always simply log off and the bully looses their power) -au.reachout.com/cyberbullying
As technology advances the scammers are becoming smarter here are some common scams to be aware of;
ID Theft/Identity Fraud – taking your details and pretending to be you or to access your accounts online or even worst to steal your money or possessions by using your details to confuse banks.
Online Scams – emails or messages that appear to be from friends or services, never give personal details (your bank will NEVER email you for your personal details, same with things like Australian Tax Office nor CentreLink) this is same for over the phone.
Phishing – is trying to get little bits of information at a time to build a profile of who you are and often happens over email, instant messaging “Chat” or over the phone. It is an attempt to get your login details or credit cards or even your other personal information.
Business Opportunities or Job Offers – if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Offers of money or making lots of money are usually scams, do not risk getting involved and do not invest money in it.
Offers of Love, Dating or Romance – be careful people are not always who they say they are. Often people try to steal money or identity of venerable people. Not all people are honest, not all people are nice nor are they kind. Be very general online, never met new people alone . Never met people in their home or in secluded areas, always meet somewhere you are familiar with or ideally were people know you.
Phone scammers- will get you to turn on your PC and log in then steal all your computers content! IBM, Windows and Apple will NEVER call you with a computer or phone issue. Also companies such as service providers (your electricity company to phone/internet provider will NOT ask for your credit card or account details over the phone and don’t sign up with new plans and such.
Modem jacking- update passwords regularly and notify your supplier if there are issues with high or unusual data use.
Hacking – people stealing your passwords to your accounts, especially prevalent in social media or blogging websites. Change passwords regularly. Monitor your accounts regularly. Never add people you do not know personally. Even if you do know someone personally, ensure the account is real not hacked – are the posts weird or rude, not like posts your friends would make, notify your friends they maybe hacked via email or by phone.
Spyware and Key-loggers – don’t use others or public computers for any website you need to log in on.
Other cybercrime - www.afp.gov.au/policing/cybercrime/internet-fraud-and-scams.aspx
Always report a scam, so it helps others to not fall for it as well - www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/reportascam
Keep abreast of new scams - www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/SCAMwatchRadar
Australian Government – stay safe online - www.staysmartonline.gov.au/
Fraud Prevention Checklist www.elderimpact.org/fraud-prevention-checklist/
US DOJ : Identity Theft and Identity Fraud www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html
Guide to Preventing Home Improvement Fraud www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Preventing-Home-Improvement-Fraud.17322.html
Consumer Reports’ 9 Steps to Protect Against Credit Card Fraud www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/09/protect-against-credit-card-fraud-now/index.htm
Avoid and Report Medicare Fraud (written for the USA market, but relevent for AUS market as well) www.planprescriber.com/medicare-insurance-news/medicare-fraud/