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.
Please note: if you’re ever concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else because of online or phone harassment or abuse, call 111.
If something seems too good to be true online, 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.
If you want help or expert incident advice, contact Netsafe
Netsafe is New Zealand’s respected and reliable online safety organisation. Their advice and support is free, non-judgemental, and available seven days a week.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
- Online report at netsafe.org.nz/report
- Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282
- Netsafe’s contact centre is available from 8am – 8pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm weekends and public holidays.
Concerned about online bullying, abuse, or harassment?
Netsafe offers excellent advice in these resources. Look out for their other topics that might help you also.
- Staying Safe Online Guide
Note: This is available in English, Te Reo, simplified Chinese, Tongan and Samoan
- Information on dealing with different types of harassment and bullying online
- Online safety tips for Young People
- Bullying and harassment online support for the Rainbow Community (LGBTQIA+)
Using your phone safely
- Keeping your mobile phone safe and secure (Cert NZ)
- Mobile and phone harassment and abuse (Netsafe) - see here for advice on how to block someone.
What is identity theft? What can I do if I think I am a victim of it?
Identity theft is using the identity information of another person to pretend to be them. This can have serious consequences for people. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) offers this helpful information about identity theft.
Ways Victim Support keeps you safe online
- If you’re in danger but can’t talk see about Silent Solution Calls here.
- To make a quick exit from this page click on the 'Quick Exit' button on the top right.
- To hide evidence of your visit to this site click on the 'Hide My Visit' button at the bottom of this page.
These well known Online companies also provide safety and privacy information and tools:
- Facebook – facebook.com/safety
- Instagram – help.instagram/com
- Google – google.co.nz/safetycenter/
- Trade Me – trademe.co.nz/Help/ContactUs.aspx
- YouTube – youtube.com/about/policies/#staying-safe
- Twitter – support.twitter.com/groups/57-safety-security
- Netflix – help.netflix.com
To stop Google tracking you - see these recent articles for tips
- How to Get Google to Quit Tracking You (PC Magazine)
- All the Ways Google Tracks You—And How to Stop It. (Wired)
Other useful information and websites
Be safe, feel safe - safety information from New Zealand Police