Consumer's Guide to Computer Privacy and Security
The internet offers many ways to connect with friends, research places to visit, and find out the latest news. Aside from the millions of websites and things to do, the internet can become a pitfall for common users looking to occupy their time. Not only can it be a total waste of time, it can lead its users to the wrong areas where predators or criminals lurk.
To stay safe online, you need to protect sensitive data including payment numbers and personally identifiable information.
The dangers of the internet have grown since its inception, placing children and adults at a great risk. This means that parents and teachers need to educate children about ways to recognize and prevent themselves from becoming a target of criminal activity. It also means that you need to remain vigilant of common ploys found on the Internet, such as fraud, social media scams, spam, phishing, and cyberbullying predators.
For more information on some of the latest online crimes that are circulating, please review the following information. Please feel free to share the information with family, friends and others that can benefit from the information:
Internet and Computer Fraud
Identity theft and other types of fraud have affected tens of thousands of computer owners worldwide since the late 1990s. Many modern identity thieves target younger computer users, and early education can help to limit risks. These links provide detailed identity theft resources including contact information for reporting potential incidences of fraud.
- Kids Health: Smart Surfing - A webpage that offers suggestions on keeping personal information safe from computer fraud.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Identify Theft - The FTC defines identify theft, and offers tips for target prevention.
- OnGuard: Computer Security - A government-sponsored website that teaches kids and teens how to secure their computers from scammers, hackers, and identity thieves.
- How to Avoid a Scam - Kids and teenagers can file a complaint to stop computer-based fraud.
- NYPL's Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens - An online safety guide for kids and teenagers, including ways to safeguard personal information.
- The United States Department of Justice: Reporting Computer, Internet-Related, or Intellectual Property Crime - The USDOJ provides a list of contact numbers for reporting computer, internet-related, and intellectual property crime.
Social Media Safety
The rise in popularity of websites like Twitter and Facebook has opened up entirely new methods of communication. However, scammers and fraudsters often prey on uneducated social media users, using various methods to collect and use personal information. These resources are intended to provide social media education for users of all ages.
- 10 Actions to Prevent and Stop Cyberbullying - A brochure for teens and parents on keeping safe while surfing the Internet.
- Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet (PDF) - A comprehensive guide offering online safety tips for kids and their parents or legal guardians.
- Cyberbullying Prevention Statistics 2019 - A detailed list of statistics related to a recent phenomenon known as Cyberbullying Prevention.
- Teen's Guide to Social Media Safety - A general guide for Internet users who wish to secure their computers and keep their information private from predators.
- The United States Computer Readiness Emergency Team: Staying Safe on Social Network Sites - A guide for protecting personal information while on social networking websites.
- Staying Safe on Social Networking (PDF) - A document that explains some of the common mistakes that teenagers make while using social networking websites. It also offers prevention methods to avoid becoming a target of social networking scams.
By clicking on the wrong email attachment or failing to recognize the warning signs of a phishing attempt, you could unintentionally give scammers access to your personal information. Use the links below to learn how to safely use email without taking unnecessary risks. Includes specialized tips for teenagers and younger children.
- Wise Kids: Online Safety Tips for Children and Young People - Read these general Internet safety tips to prevent getting scammed online.
- Internet Safety Tips for All Ages - Parents and children should follow these safety tips before, during, and after Internet sessions.
- Keeping Kids Safe Online: E-mail - A guide offering suggestions for keeping kids safe online while checking e-mail.
- Internet Safety and Netiquette Tips (PDF) - A document intended to offer safety tips for children and teenagers that frequently use the Internet.
Some emails are not what they appear. Phishing attacks are typically performed via emails that include harmful links, often presented as safe, well-known websites. To avoid becoming a victim of these attacks, you need to know how to recognize them and when to report them to your email provider. The links below contain tips for staying safe and avoiding phishing attempts.
- How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams - A webpage offering advice on avoiding scams, spam, and phishing online.
- How to Spot Phishing Emails - AOL shares tips on identifying e-mail phishing scams.
- How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls - Bridge Credit Union explains what to look for in phishing scams through e-mail, web browser, or phone.
- The Dangers of Phishing (PDF) - Kaspersky gives advice on helping employees prevent cybercrime.
- How to Avoid Phishing Scams - A website providing anti-phishing advice for regular e-mail users. It explains what to do if a user stumbles across a phishing scam.
While most unwanted email is not dangerous, it can still waste time and create an unnecessary annoyance. Email clients typically have built-in spam filters, but in order to substantially reduce the amount of junk messages you receive, you can use better browsing practices to prevent spammers from obtaining your email address in the first place. These resources will help you get started.
- Stopping Unsolicited Phone Calls, E-mails, and junk mail - A free guide for Internet users looking to reduce the amount of junk mail, e-mail, and phone calls they receive.
- McAfee: Reducing Spam Risks (PDF) - A document offering ten tips for fighting spam.
- How to Stop Spam from Invading Your Inbox - Norton offers an extensive list of tips on reducing junk mail.
- Anti-Spam Toolkit - The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains how spammers get e-mail addresses. It also offers tips on reducing spam after it has already started to flow into the user's inbox.
- Dealing with Spam and Protecting Against Viruses (PDF) - A document that offers advice on the do's and don'ts of dealing with spam.
Keeping Children Safe
As soon as children begin using computers, they should be regularly monitored and informed about the potential dangers of the Internet. Parents often have trouble deciding when to introduce certain information to their children or how to lay appropriate boundaries for Internet usage. The articles below provide excellent starting points along with valuable resources that limit risks.
- Scholastic: Keeping Kids Safe Online - A parent-child guide that to educating kids and teenagers about the potential dangers lurking on the internet.
- Keeping Your Child Safe Online - A guide for parents and legal guardians to help protect their children against the risks on the internet.
- Keeping Kids Safe on Mobile Phones and the Internet - A parental guide loaded with talking points for children who use mobile devices and the Internet.
- Parenting: Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet - Children and teenagers should listen to what their parent or legal guardian has to say about the dangers found on the internet. This parental guide only reiterates those wise words.
- Stay Safe on the Screen: How to Chat on the Webcam with Confidence (PDF) - A document that explains how to safeguard a webcam from prying eyes.