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Online Traps, Internet Privacy

Be safe online
In chat rooms or using instant messaging, never reveal your identity to strangers. Don't assume that someone is as he or she seems to be. Disclosing your address, telephone number, or even your name to a stranger can put you or family members in danger.

Don't open e-mail from people you don't know. Definitely don't click on any links or attachments that come with those e-mails.

Never send an email or an IM to a person you don't know. Also, don't forward e-mail to people you don't know. The person asking you to do this may be trying to involve you in a crime.

Never send a photo of yourself to someone you don't know or post it to a Web site, because your photo could be changed to show you doing embarassing things.

NEVER agree to meet, in person, someone you've "met" on the Internet without talking to your parents. Don't let people online trick you into thinking of them as real-life friends if you've never met them in person.

Here are some quick tip sheets:

For more information on internet safety, visit www.NetSmartz.org/Teens.

If you or someone you know has been victimized by someone you met online, report them to www.cybertipline.com.  You should report anyone who sends you obscene photos or videos, anyone who talks to you about sex, and anyone who asks you to meet offline. Stand up for yourself and make sure no one else becomes a victim. www.CyberTipline.com

hypnotic glassesProtect your privacy
"Earn points toward great free stuff by taking our survey!" says a Web site. It asks for your name, age and e-mail.

After a while, you notice you're getting a lot more annoying spam! Then you start getting a lot of junk mail, too. Telemarketers have even started calling your house asking to speak with you!

Web sites use surveys and contests to get people to give them information such as their name, age and e-mail address. They want it so they can send you advertising. So think twice before you give that information.

If you do choose to give the information, first read the Web site's "privacy policy." It should tell you how any information you give will be used. For example, it should say whether it will use it to send you information about products, and whether it shares your information with other companies. If there's no "privacy policy" posted, don't enter your information. Here's the privacy policy of this Web site.

When you get older, you'll want to be even more protective of your private information. Adults need to protect who gets to see their credit card number, bank account number, and Social Security Number. There are criminals who find out those numbers and use them to steal money by pretending to be the person whose numbers they are using. That's called "identity theft."


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