- If possible, make your desktop or laptop computer password protected.
- Use a firewall on your desktop or laptop computer. Consult your owner’s manual for suggestions.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and run it on a regular basis.
- If you have a wireless network, make sure the network is secure. Consult your router’s owner’s manual for suggestions.
- Keep a list of all major serial numbers (computer, MP3 player, printer, cellphone etc.) and put it in a safe and secure place.
- If you own a laptop, purchase and use a security lock.
- Turn your desktop or laptop computer off when you are not using it.
- If possible, never open a Spam e-mail, delete it immediately.
- Be very wary of e-mails that appear to come from legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies, online retailers or other trusted companies that ask you to update your personal information.
- Avoid clicking links in e-mails that say they will take you to a trusted website, instead, go to the website by typing the address in a web browser and log in through there.
- Be wary of e-mails from people who want to send you money, claim you won the lottery or are bored and just want to chat. These are some of the most common scams around these days.
Social Networking Website Safety (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Make sure that your profile is set to private and can only be viewed by the people you want to see it.
- Never put personal information on your profile or where anyone can find it. This includes your phone number and address. There is always the risk that someone who has access to your profile/information could have their account compromised which then allows an unauthorized person access to your personal information.
- Never put your work or class schedule online, this can make it easier for someone to stalk or prey upon you.
- Never “friend” someone you do not know. Go through your “friends” list periodically and remove people you no longer communicate with.
- Be careful for what you write or say about other people or things; you could be held accountable for damages under either defamation or libel. The same goes for pictures you post. This applies even if your profile is set to be viewed by a limited number of people.
- Be careful of how you portray or represent yourself online, what might be a funny picture or comment now could have major repercussions when applying for a job, loans or future relationships with people.
Online Purchases (Craigslist, eBay, etc.)
- If you are buying items off of a third party type website, do your research on both the item and the seller before agreeing to a transaction.
- Whenever possible, handle these transactions face-to-face with the other party, insist on meeting in a public location and never go alone, only accept payment in cash. If dealing in a large amount of money, suggest meeting at a bank where the money can be quickly deposited.
- If using a website to find a roommate or an apartment always have a friend with you when meeting anyone. Always talk and get to know a person before giving them the exact address or having them visit the apartment. If you are looking for an apartment always have a friend go with you to visit the place, make sure you tell other people where you are going and what time you expect to be home.
- Never go alone to meet a person you only know through the internet, whatever the reason. Always bring a friend and be sure to tell others where you are going and when you expect to be back.