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01 Mar 2017

Be aware of what you share

In a society where the Online Safety of children is very much at its pinnacle of importance, the responsibility to keep children safe online has undoubtedly fallen into the hands of adults including parents and caregivers alike.

Whilst adults focus on the protection and guidance of children it’s easy to understand how they themselves can overlook the risks associated with using the world wide web, with many still falling victim to threats such as Bullying, Cyber Stalking and Identity Theft.

With many organisations out there offering advice and providing resources for children, it’s important that as an adult you equally understand the risks which come with using the internet and adopt good security practices.

Being aware of these threats certainly stands you in good stead in being able to avoid getting yourself into any potential sticky situations.

Following the below simple steps can help alleviate any potential risks.

Think twice before sharing content

Sharing pictures online has become a common way to engage with friends and family, but they can also make you vulnerable without you even realising.

With social platforms always providing ways to extend your reach, it’s possible your pictures may fall into the hands of people you may not want seeing them, including work colleagues and people you may not know.

Before sharing, analyse your picture to make sure the content is appropriate to all audiences and check for any details that might give out personal information, for example where you live, where you work and any car license plates.

Check your Privacy settings

Some social networking sites now request a vast amount of personal information when setting up an account, information which is then often displayed on your profile and made  available for everyone to see.

Make sure your privacy settings are set so that only the people you know and trust such as friends and family, can see this information.

Remember it’s also good practice not to accept ‘friend’ requests from people you may not know to avoid strangers looking at your details.

Choose the right passwords

However easy it is to remember a password of significance such as your child’s birthday or your surname, these kinds of passwords can actually leave you wide open to identity theft and even fraud.

Using the same password across multiple platforms is the first mistake people make when creating accounts.

It’s important to understand that once a hacker has this information it’s much easier for them to gain access to all accounts linked with that same password, giving them further access to personal information.

Try associating your password with a memorable sentence such as: ‘The house I grew up in was 43 High Lane and I lived there for 19 years’ ThiGuiw43HLaiLtf19Y. This will result in a very personable, strong password, and all you need to do is remember a simple sentence.

Suspect identity theft? Report it!

Identity theft has become increasingly popular within the UK as fraudsters find new ways to gather personal information in a bid to steal someone’s identity.

There are many forms in which identity theft can present itself, from fake social profiles where fraudsters target an individual and use their information for personal gain, to financial identity fraud which can potentially cost individuals a lot money and affect your credit score.

As well as being aware of your privacy settings, be cautious when receiving phishing emails which will ask you to provide personal information. If you’re unsure, contact the company the email is supposedly coming from directly.

Remember any respectable organisation will not ask you to provide personal details via email.

If you think you may have fallen victim to identity theft or fraud report it immediately to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

Stay safe!

As an adult, setting a good example and being responsible for your own online activity speaks volumes when it comes to educating children about the do’s and don’t’s of internet safety.

Being aware of the risks outlined will ensure that you too can have an enjoyable and safe internet experience.  

Article as previously seen on the HR180 website.

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