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Staying safe online

A few simple precautions will keep you safe while you are online.

  • Make sure that your computer is secure – Protect your computer with a firewall and with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  • Don’t open spam – Spam is email that is sent automatically to millions of email addresses. It can advertise things such as drugs or pornography. If you receive an email from someone that you have never heard of, don’t open it. Delete the email immediately. If you do open it by accident, don’t click on any of the links and never reply to a spam message.
  • Protect your personal information – Never give your passwords, PIN numbers or bank account numbers to anyone. Criminals send out phishing emails that look very authentic, asking you to confirm your PIN or to go to a website and log in. If you receive such an email, do not reply to it or click on any of the links, and delete it immediately.
  • Shop safely – Only buy from online retailers that have a good reputation. If you buy from auction sites, such as eBay, follow their security advice very carefully. Don’t download pirated software, music or videos. For more information on shopping safely, see our section below on shopping online.
  • Use strong passwords and have separate passwords for your financial accounts – Read Top Tips for Staying Safe Online by the National Cyber Security Centre.
  • Public Wi Fi: Newcastle city centre has accessible public Wi Fi. This is great to browse, watch and chat.   Do not access your bank account or sensitive information and keep your passwords secure from a hacker or malware virus.
  • Look for a padlock and security certificate for a website (in the left hand corner of the browser bar)

For further information and security advice on a range of topics including: how to install anti-virus software; make backups; protect your privacy; set ground rules for children and grandchildren; and shop, bank and use online auctions safely, see the Get Safe Online website.

If the worst happens and you are a victim of a scam, or if you want advice on how to protect yourself, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (national rate) for help or visit their website to report fraud or if you suspect you may have been targeted.

Please note this is not for emergencies, if you feel that you are in immediate danger please call the Emergency Services on 999.

Other Useful Information

  • Digital Unite has a huge range of free learning guides to help people with using computers, the internet, tablets and other mobile devices. The easy-to-follow guides cover the essential topics from getting started with a mouse and keyboard to web browsing, emailing, shopping online and internet safety.
  • Digital Voice works with participants who are excluded from digital media, helping individuals and communities to access the internet and web information.
  • Choose has a range of free guides on how to stay safe online, including how to stay safe when browsing the web, emailing and sharing personal information.
  • Fraud & Scams article on InformationNOW
  • Scams, fraud and Cybercrime during the coronavirus
  • Mobile Phones article on InformationNOW
  • We are Digital offer 1:1 home tuition and group training to all ages and skill levels.
  • Guide to using mobile apps securely Ofcom provides a useful guide on how to keep your tablet and mobile devices safe.
  • Get Safe Online is a  source of free, expert, practical, impartial advice for staying safe online for consumers and small businesses
  • Citizens Online run online events, provide a free digital support helpline and a trained team of digital champions who will call you back and offer friendly, patient support over the phone.
  • Media Savvy CIC run a variety of digital skills courses for marginalised groups, including:- Basics, Social Media, eSafety, Employability, Money Matters.
  • The Cyber Helpline support victims of cybercrime and online harm. Chat to their chatbot and get immediate advice on how to deal with your cyber security issue. If you need more help, it will pass you onto one of their volunteer cyber security experts.

Last updated: January 13, 2022

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