Crimes committed online give the criminal the cover of hiding their identity and whereabouts.
The Internet has become part of life for many of us and we think little of using it to buy things, sort out our bank account or chat with friends. It's important to remember that using the Internet exposes us to a number of hidden dangers and it's important to understand how you can be affected.
How can I protect myself?
You can reduce your internet risks by:
- Making sure your computer has a standard firewall and virus guard. Increase the security settings on your web browser;
- Download any updates for your web browser as they may include security updates;
- Setting up a block filter for any junk/spam mail in your personal and work email account;
- Making sure when you shop online you use secure websites including those with his security encrypted payment pages;
- Keeping a close eye on who your children are emailing in chat rooms, social media and online. Find out more about Child Exploitation here;
- Review all of your bank statements thoroughly to ensure that your account has not been accessed without your knowledge;
- Never enter your pin number for your debit or credit card on the internet as this will never be required.
- Remember what goes online stays online. Don't say or publish anything that may cause you embarrassment later;
- By restricting access to your profile to just family and friends you significantly decrease becoming a victim of social engineering and possible identity theft;
- Be aware of the risks associated with social networking sites such as on-line bullying and in extreme cases grooming and child abuse;
- See further information for more advice.
Social Media - Crime Prevention
- Information you post online can be viewed by almost anyone;
- Social media platforms are increasingly automatically showing the location where users are posting;
- Burglars can make use of these techniques to determine when your premises are left vacant;
- Evaluate the media that you share on your social media accounts, do not automatically share your location or your address;
- The banks will never ask you to confirm your password and other log-on security details;
- Beware of emails from financial institutions informing you there's a problem with your account no matter how authentic they appear. These emails request that you click on a link and enter your personal security information that then re-directs you to a bogus site that collects your security information;
- If in doubt phone the bank using the phone number from a genuine piece of letter or phone directory;
- Regularly check your balance and contact your bank if there are any unrecognised or suspicious withdrawals;
- Shared bank statements and other information that contain your account number.
Where can I get help or further information?
- If you think a child or an adult is at immediate risk call 999;
- If you suspect suspicious behaviour online call 101;
- If you want to report a crime anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Find out more about how ways in which children and young people can be exploited online on the Child Sexual Exploitation section of this website.
Get Safe Online - free online security advice
CEOP (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) provides advice on how to help children stay safe online.
Listen to my Story - advice for young people, parents, carers, guardians and professionals on how to spot the warning signs of Child Sexual Exploitation.