Staying Safe Online
Below is some basic information published by the UK government and the BBC, they are basic guild lines for you and your children to stay safe online. With more and more of us shopping online, using social network sites and chatting to friends it’s very important to think about what we are doing and what information we are giving to others. Taking some very simple steps can save a lot of the pain and reduces the ricks of identity theft, scams, phishing, and fraud.
With the build up to Christmas it’s very easy to fall victim to online fraud, follow the CHECK guild to help you stay safe and buy with confidence. There are some very good deals online and as long as you take some basic precautions you can use the internet to your advantage and save some money of presents.
Using the internet
There are lots of sites around that allow you to talk to other people on the web. Chat rooms give you the chance to have a conversation with other people and get instant replies. Online message boards and forums let you post questions or comments and ask other users to give their opinion in their own time.
It can be a great way to chat to other people who share your interests, but you should always be careful not to pass on any of your personal details. You should always keep in mind that internet users can pretend to be anyone they like. They can lie about their age, their interests and whether they're male or female. No matter how long you've been chatting, remember that they're still strangers; you don't really know them at all.
Social networking sites
Some of you may have your own Facebook profile that lets you chat with friends or communicate with other users who share your interests. These 'social networks' let you create your own blog, upload photos and videos for others to see and add people to an online friends list.
Social networks are a great way of keeping in touch but you should think carefully before adding someone to your list of online friends or posting a blog entry that could get you into trouble at school, college or work.
Your page is still a public place, so putting anything on your page that you wouldn't want your parents, teacher or boss to see is not a good idea.
Anything you include in your profile can be seen by other, do not list confidential information that could be used by others, (date of birth, mother’s maiden name, full address etc.) just because you marked information as private or do not publish does not mean others cannot see it of share it.
You can never be sure that other users are being truthful about their online identities, so be careful about what information you give out.
To think about whether you know someone well enough before accepting someone into your group of linked friends.
To make sure you know who to contact to report abuse or bullying on your page and how your complaint will be dealt with.
Chat room safety
When you're using a chat room or posting on a message board, never give out any personal information like your address or your phone number. You should always use a nickname, so no-one can look you up in a telephone directory and get your home phone number.
It's usually not a good idea to arrange to meet up with someone that you've been chatting to online. Remember that you can never be sure that they're telling the truth about their age or their interests and you could be putting yourself in danger.
If you do want to meet up with someone you've met online, make sure that you discuss it with your parents beforehand. If they do agree, make sure that you arrange a meeting in a public place and that you take an adult with you.
Some websites will ask you to fill out a registration form before you can use them. While this is normal, it's a good idea to find out what the website will do with your personal details. All companies that collect information have to tell their customers how personal information will be used. Make sure you check the website's terms and conditions if you want to know.
Some sites allow other companies to use details from their user database for market research purposes. Companies have to give you the chance to tell them if you don't want your details to be used in this way. This is often done by having a tick box on the online registration page. If you don't want your information to be used, tick that box before you submit your information.
Protect yourself and your computer against online threats
Many people still don't like shopping on the internet because they think their bank details are not safe. Luckily, shopping on the web is now just as safe as ordering goods over the telephone, as long as you follow a few common sense rules.
If you do order goods over the internet, make sure that the company you're buying from uses a secure shopping server. You'll know if it is a secure site if a padlock icon appears at the bottom of your browser window, or the web address begins with 'https://'.
If it's a company that you've never heard of before, search their site for any contact numbers and postal addresses. If they're a respectable company, they won't mind you giving them a quick call to ask them a few questions.
Also, make sure that you never send your bank details to anyone in an email. Banks and online stores will never ask you to do this as it is not a secure way of sending information.
If you do receive an official-looking email that asks you to send your financial details, you should never reply as you could become a victim of identity fraud.
A basic guide to Shopping Online. Remember C.H.E.C.K
C.Choose your shopping sites carefully...
Research the site you want to purchase from. Does it have bad customer reviews? If so, it may be best to try somewhere else. If you're buying a well known brand, check with their official website for authorised dealers.
H. Help yourself...
Think price, place and packaging – if the price is very low, for a product that is normally higher, then it may well be a fake. Also think about where and how the goods/services are being sold – is there a postal address on the website?
E. Ensure the site is secure...
Look for https and the padlock sign – the padlock on the screen is usually an indication that a website is secure, but to provide extra security, use a credit card for payments of over £100.
C. Contacting the authorities...
If you come across a website that looks suspicious then contact Consumer Direct (UK) with your concerns. or in France Internet-signalement
K. Keep a copy of your order...
Make sure you hang on to details of the website and acknowledgements of your order (it's best to print off the payment confirmation page). Note down the full website address and any contact details that are available. Also, if you have any liaison with the supplier then keep a record of this too.