The Internet is an opportunity
for you to interact with people. It provides a communication link to
businesses, entertainment, and education. Through the Internet you can
interact with people from other towns, cities, and countries. You can
learn about other cultures, customs and lifestyles. It is an opportunity
to make new friends and learn more about the world in which we live.
However, the Internet by design is an
anonymous media. This aspect can make it easy for someone to use the
Internet for criminal means. Because you are 'speaking' with someone via
your computer, it is nearly impossible to verify many things about that
person. These may include:
- The Person with whom you are speaking may not be using
their real name. It is possible with some Internet Service Providers
(ISP's) to check the account information of someone you've had
contact with. However, that person may have been using someone
else's account or may have provided false information to the ISP.
The Person's Description
- We often take for granted the ability to see the person
we are speaking with. However, on the Internet nothing can be
verified. You can not use your eyes to verify the person's age,
race, or even gender.
The Person's Location
- On the Internet it is very easy for someone to say they are one
place, when in reality they could be around the corner or across the
The Person's Intentions
- Most people use the internet for honest and honorable intentions.
However, someone who exploits the Internet, especially criminals and
con artists, can seem very straightforward at first, but they are
experts at manipulation. They use confidence-scams, or even just
friendly conversation, to make you believe what they want you to
believe. Then they have you act on that belief.
- Internet security is very important and new technologies are being
developed everyday to ensure your protection. However, there are
persons out there who know how to intercept communications. Your
communication with a known friend or acquaintance could be seen by
others. There is also no guarantee that the person you are
'speaking' with is acting alone or uses good security with your
Common sense tempered with caution is
still your best protection. Listed below are some safety tips you should
use when communicating on-line:
Do not give out any personal
information, home address or phone number. If you are using a
'nickname' don't give out your real name to anyone you don't know. If
you are listed in the phone book, they can use it to find you.
Do not give anyone your account
password. No legitimate and reputable ISP will send you a message or
e-mail asking for your password or account information. Many hackers
know how to send you messages that appear to be from your ISP. If you
receive one of these messages contact your provider immediately!.
Do not give out any personal account
information such as internet account or personal financial accounts
(credit card or checking/saving accounts) until you are absolutely
sure of their credibility and connection security.
Do not arrange a personal meeting
with anyone you have met on the Internet unless, and until, you are
able to verify their true identity and can arrange the following:
Meet in a public place that is
well lighted and busy.
Meet during busy business hours
and not close to closing or after dark.
Arrange your own transportation to
and from the meeting.
Bring a friend; Double-date.
Do not meet the person alone!
A stranger you meet on the Internet is just like a stranger you meet in
a bar, restaurant, or on the street!! Use the same precautions you use
in these situations, when meeting people on the Internet!!
If you do have suspicions about someone
you may have spoken with on the Internet, or if you have in someway been
offended or threatened, contact your service provider immediately. Give
them as much information about the situation as possible. This should
include any contact information, such as on-screen name, account
information (name, address, phone, account number) and/or e-mail
address. You should also be straight-forward as to how you were offended
or threatened. Most ISP's provide on-line information on reporting such
incidents. Be familiar with your provider's procedures.