Staying safe online

Technology, the Internet, and social media are part of most people’s everyday lives. They can make things easier, give us access to information quickly, and keep us in touch with others.

However, as they’ve developed, cybercrime has as well. Keep these general safety tips in mind to help you, your family, and whānau to stay safe online.

  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask yourself, is this for real? Listen to your instincts and be cautious.

  • Make sure your computer or devices have at least a standard firewall.

  • If you get strange emails in your inbox from people you don’t know, don’t open them, or their attachments. Delete them straight away.

  • Change your password regularly. Have different passwords for different sites you visit, especially sites with personal or financial information. Make passwords as complex as you can remember and never give your password to anyone else. See Netsafe’s password tips.

  • Install the latest anti-virus protection on all your devices and keep it up to date. Make sure your antivirus protection is set to run automatically at regular intervals.

  • Never reply to a message if you think it could be a scam. If you’re unsure about any requests for your personal details, do some simple checks first. Go straight to the company’s website instead of following an email link, call their office directly, or visit a local branch to check if their request is a real one.

  • Set up a block or filter for any junk/spam mail in your personal or work email account.

  • If an offer that comes to you via the internet or social media seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Keep alert.

  • If you use online banking, your bank can provide some safety tips and, if there is a scam happening, they may send you alerts to watch out for. Read what they send you about safety matters and take the steps they advise. Make sure you use trusted retail providers when you shop online. Check to make sure the company is legitimate.

  • Check privacy options carefully to understand what happens to your data, including for updates to apps. Set your profile to private, and only invite or accept friend requests from people you know. Don’t post your address, phone number, or other personal information online.

  • Only use secure websites when you’re doing your online shopping or checking your bank account. Look out for the padlock symbol in the search bar.

  • Put an adult block on your computer to block unwanted or illegal websites that might host malware or spyware.

  • Most internet providers give you the option to activate child safety features in your internet browser to help protect your children and teens from unsafe websites.

  • Watch out for who your children or teens in your home are talking to online. Talk to them about internet safety. See advice on how to do this from Parenting Place.

Contact Netsafe

Visit Netsafe for more tips and advice.

If you’re concerned about the safety of yourself or someone else, and want help or expert incident advice, you can contact Netsafe. Their service is free, non-judgemental, and available seven days a week.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 111.

Other useful information and websites

Be safe, feel safe - safety information from New Zealand Police