Online predators are becoming more cunning and developing more tricks in order to take advantage of innocent people. The only defense that you have against such predators is to keep your identity safe while you are online. Keeping your identity safe when online will not only help you to avoid financial fraud, but you can protect your computer from harmful viruses, and most importantly you can protect yourself physically from being harmed by someone who was able to obtain personal information about you.
Rules for keeping your identity safe when chatting online
Do not open any attachments to e-mails sent to you in a chat session by someone that you do not know. It is very common for people to send others in a chat room an e-mail with a virus or Trojan horse attached. Viruses such as these are particularly dangerous because viruses and Trojan horses can leave your computer system and personal information weakened and therefore vulnerable to hacking. Without even being aware of it, you could create an opportunity for someone to take a peak at all of the information that you have stored on your computer. Use caution and scan all attachments for viruses.
Do not give out personal information. The importance of keeping your personal information private cannot be stressed enough. Use extreme caution when chatting with someone that you do not know. Never reveal where you live, your age, your name, the school that you attend, the name of your workplace, etc. Don’t ever use your real name, and be extremely vague, not even hinting at your gender, when you create your screen name or nickname.
Educate your children about what chatting activities are and are not appropriate. Teach them to be cautious or even suspicious about chatting with someone that they do not know. Remember that there are predators who are skilled at pretending to be someone that they are not. You can imagine the danger in having your child’s identity in the hands of a predator.
Use firewalls and filters to protect you and your family from prying eyes and objectionable or inappropriate material. Firewalls are designed to give you virtual protection against those who would try to watch your conversations or monitor your online activity without you even knowing about it. Filters can be set to be as strict or lenient as you wish. You can filter out specific chat rooms that you do not feel are safe for you and your children. A filter can also help to prevent inappropriate pop-up messages from appearing on your screen.
A predator knows what to say so do not believe everything that you read. Many predators are willing to invest months into manipulating you and gaining your trust. A predator will start prying into your personal life by asking seemingly innocent questions like what your hobbies are or what you do in your spare time. A predator has tricks to make you feel comfortable about disclosing information that you really should keep closely guarded. There is no period of time where disclosing personal information online will suddenly become acceptable.
Guard the identity of others as you would guard your own identity. Many people become victims of identity theft because of the carelessness of others. Make sure that you guard the personal information of others when you are online.
These and other rules to keeping your identity safe when chatting are very fundamental, yet people are continually letting their guard down and allowing themselves to become a target for theft or harm. Make sure that you and your family do all in your power to protect yourselves when you are chatting online.