Safe Internet Browsing Tips

The internet is a dangerous place for many reasons, including scams, fraud, internet crimes and sexual harassment. Internet sex crimes can consist of online stalking, unsolicited sexual messages or images, identity fraud, and child pornography. When it comes to browsing the internet safely, you should have two priorities: privacy and security.

Protect Your Privacy

First, customize your privacy settings for optimal privacy protection. When using a public computer, tablet or another electronic device, use a private browsing window. This can prevent the next user from seeing your search history or important personal information, such as usernames and passwords. You can access a private browsing window by selecting File>New Private Window or right-clicking on the internet app icon and selecting New Private Window or Incognito Mode, in most cases.

On a public computer, when asked if you want the computer to remember your username or password, always select “No.” Never store any personal information on someone else’s computer, including passwords and credit card information. Clear your history and cookies if you visit a website without using a private browser. This can erase your past activity in case someone is monitoring your computer. If you believe someone is monitoring your personal device without your permission, take it to an electronics expert for advice.

Keep Your Devices Secure

Protecting your privacy will only go so far if you fail to keep your device secure from hackers. Hackers can access your personal and private information if you do not have the right tools in place to block them. Increase the security of your devices by using a firewall security system for protection. Purchase and download a firewall system to prevent unauthorized access to your device and private information. Consider encrypting your data as well, such as emails that contain personal or sensitive information or images.

Only use secure websites to avoid giving cybercriminals access to your system. Check for “https” at the beginning of the URLs you visit, as well as the small lock symbol that appears next to the web address. This symbol represents a safe and secure website that has been checked by the search site. If you are unsure about the safety or authenticity of a website, you are better off not clicking on the link. A single click could expose your device and information to online hackers.

Practice Social Media Safety

Social media is one of the most common settings for internet sex crimes. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat invite criminals by allowing strangers to send unsolicited sexual images or messages. Protect yourself when using social media by increasing your privacy settings. Control who can see or gain access to your profiles and personal information. Block and report people who infringe on your privacy by sending you unsolicited sexual materials.

Before you post photos or videos, make sure you are comfortable sharing the content with everyone who may have access. Turn off the geolocation function to prevent sharing where you are with others. Choose strong social media passwords and change them frequently to prevent hackers or internet stalking. Teach young children basic social media safety tips, such as not giving away personal information to strangers.

Report Harassment or Internet Crimes

As a consumer, you have the right to report inappropriate or criminal behaviors you encounter online. If you come across inappropriate sexual images, for example, you can either report it to the nonemergency police line or the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ has many links available for reporting different internet sex crimes, including child pornography and sex trafficking. Reporting inappropriate online content can punish the perpetrator as well as protect other users from the same issue or crime you encountered. If you suffered compensable damages due to an online crime or violation of your privacy, contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer for a free consultation.