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Internet Safety

Sittercity strives to provide a safe experience for its users. The following materials are intended to educate users on Internet safety.

  1. Compliance with Illinois law

    1. Summary
    2. Compliance
  2. STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and the National Cyber Security Alliance

    1. Online Safety Tips
    2. Offline Safety Tips
    3. Additional Articles
      1. Spam & Phishing
      2. Social Networks
      3. Raising Digital Citizens
      4. STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips & Advice
      5. Mobile Tip Sheet
  1. Compliance with Illinois law:

    1. Summary: The Internet Dating Safety Act was passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 29, 2012 and was renamed the Internet Dating, Internet Child Care, Internet Senior Care, and Internet Home Care Safety Act and amended on May 22, 2013. The General Assembly passed the Act because it believes the public needs to be informed of the potential risks of participating in Internet dating, Internet child care, Internet senior care and Internet home care services. The Assembly believes there is a public safety need to disclose whether criminal history background screenings have been performed and to increase public awareness of the possible risks associated with Internet dating, Internet child care, Internet senior care and Internet home care services and activities. The Act intends to enhance the safety of individuals who use an Internet service to facilitate, dating, child care, senior care or home care.

    2. Compliance: Sittercity must comply with certain provisions of the Act. The Act can be viewed here:

      http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=85&GA=98&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=2934&GAID=12&LegID=74781&SpecSess=&Session=

      The provisions relevant to the services provided by Sittercity are given below.

      “Sec. 10(a) An Internet dating service, Internet child care service, Internet senior care service, or Internet home care service offering services to Illinois members shall provide a safety awareness notification to all Illinois members that includes, at a minimum, a list and description of safety measures reasonably designed to increase awareness of safer dating, child care, senior care, and home care practices as determined by the service. Examples of such notifications include, but are not limited to”:

      "There is no substitute for acting with caution when communicating with any stranger who wants to meet you."

      "Never include your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work, or any other identifying information in your Internet profile or initial e-mail messages. Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing it."

      "If you choose to have a face-to-face meeting with another member, always tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return. Never agree to be picked up at your home. Always provide your own transportation to and from your date and meet in a public place with many people around."

      “Sec. 10(d) If an Internet dating service, Internet child care service, Internet senior care service, or Internet home care service conducts criminal background screenings, then the service shall disclose whether it has a policy allowing a member who has been identified as having a criminal conviction to have access to its service to communicate with any Illinois member; shall state that criminal background screenings are not foolproof; that they may give members a false sense of security; that they are not a perfect safety solution; that criminals may circumvent even the most sophisticated search technology; that not all criminal records are public in all states and not all databases are up to date; that only publicly available convictions are included in the screening; and that screenings do not cover other types of convictions or arrests or any convictions from foreign countries.”

      Sittercity complies with the Internet Dating Safety Act by displaying the following language:

      Safety for Parents: Steps to Selecting the Right Caregiver

      Run Basic Background Checks

      It is important to know that background checks are not automatically run on caregivers. So once you have a short list of candidates, we recommend you run a Basic Background Check on each one. This preliminary check will search various court databases to see if their names appear. If a candidate does not pass this part of the screening process, we’ll remove them from the website. Read more details about what each background check covers.

      Reach out to your short list

      Remember that it is always necessary to act with caution when communicating with anyone you do not know. We recommend when you connect with a potential caregiver, you communicate through the Sittercity website and don’t give your last name, personal e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work or other identifying information in initial messages. Also, don’t hesitate to stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information and notify member services immediately by email at support@sittercity.com or by phone at 1-866-205-5625.

      Meet for in-person interviews

      Now you should have a good feeling about which caregivers might be a good hire. Meet your final list of candidates face-to-face to ask more in-depth questions. You’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page about job specifics, discipline, responsibilities, and any other expectations you may have. For your initial in-person interview, you should meet the caregivers at a coffee shop or other popular public place with other people around. Always provide your own transportation and tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return. That way you can further evaluate each caregiver before inviting them into your home.

      Run a more comprehensive background check

      Before selecting your final candidate you should run an Enhanced Background Check. If your caregiver will be driving your children, we recommend you run a Motor Vehicles Records Check as well. These checks can provide more information about a caregiver’s background to help make your final decision. Read more details about what each background check covers.

      Safety for Sitters

      Protecting yourself is just as important as keeping kids safe

      If you’re a babysitter or nanny on the hunt for your next job and you want to connect with new families who are looking for someone like you, the Sittercity community is the perfect place to start. But it’s important to keep safety top-of-mind throughout the process of finding that perfect job. When initially connecting with families, keep in mind that background checks are not run on parents, so be sure to always communicate through the Sittercity website and never give your last name, personal e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work or other identifying information. Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information and notify member services immediately. Once you have connected with a family that looks like they could be a good fit, take precautions including the following to protect yourself and help you make safe decisions.

      Stay safe on the job

      Before you meet a family, arrange to speak with them on the phone. Remember, you’re just not being interviewed for a job, the interview process also helps you determine if a particular family is a good fit for you. If after the phone interview you don’t think you could see yourself working for this family, it’s okay to move on. But if the first conversation goes well, you can arrange for a more in-depth interview at a coffee shop, park, or another public place with other people around. Always provide your own transportation and tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return. And if a parent wants to hire you without meeting first, politely decline—that’s a red flag.

      Communicate through Sittercity, not your personal email or by text

      By keeping your communication on Sittercity, you can benefit from our technology that scans messages, looking for language and signs associated with common scams, so we can catch them before they get to you. Using our messaging system also prevents members from using your personal email for anything else besides discussing a Sittercity job (like spam, for example).

      What does each background check cover?

      For background checks purchased before November 10, 2013, read more details here.

      It is important to know that background checks are not automatically run on members. Background checks are run in two ways: caregivers can run background checks on themselves or parents can request background checks be run on caregivers. All background checks run on or after November 10, 2013, are performed by the third party consumer reporting agency TalentWise. Not all records are publicly available in all jurisdictions and in many jurisdictions there is a delay before records are publicly available. Records not available to TalentWise or not allowed to be reported by law are not included in results. Juvenile records and records for minors may also not be publicly available and, therefore, will not be included in results. TalentWise will only report publicly available records and will not report convictions, deferred adjudications or pending court cases suppressed by state and federal reporting restrictions. Dismissed cases, arrests not resulting in convictions, arrests or convictions from foreign countries and nolle pros will not be reported. If a background check returns results, the individual may be removed from the website. For other questions about background checks, please contact TalentWise directly at 1.866.246.3570. Parents are advised to contact caregivers to review their completed background check results.

      The offenses listed above are described generally and such descriptions may not be consistent among all jurisdictions. It is TalentWise's sole discretion to determine which offenses fall within the offenses listed above. As such, similar offenses may not result in removal from the website. It is important to remember that background checks are not foolproof: criminals may circumvent even the most sophisticated search technology; and background checks may give a false sense of security and are not the perfect safety solution. For more details about the results of an individual's background check, please request a copy of the results directly from the individual.

  2. National Cyber Security Alliance

    Sittercity is a partner of STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity education awareness campaign. Sittercity and the National Cyber Security Alliance, an online safety education and awareness non-profit and co-founder of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT., has also provided online safety resources below to help Internet users develop safe online practices.

    1. Online Safety Tips:

      Protect your finances

      Ignore any request to send money, especially overseas or by wire transfer, and report it to Sittercity immediately – even if the person claims to be in an emergency. Wiring money is like sending cash: the sender has no protections against loss and it's nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money.

      Never give financial information (such as you social security number, credit card number or bank information) to people you don't know or you haven't met in person.

      Guard your personal and online access information.

      Be careful about sharing other personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address. You are in control of your online experience at all times – remain anonymous until you feel ready. Take advantage of our member-to-member technology that protects your identity until you decide to reveal it through messaging. Also, leave any personal contact information out of your profile.

      Use extra caution when accessing your account from a public or shared computer or unsecured WiFi hotspot (one that does not require you to enter a password) so that others are not able to view or record your password or other personal information. If you share your computer with others, disable the auto sign-in feature to your account and clear all saved passwords.

      Note: Sittercity will never send you an email asking for your username and password information. Any such communication should be reported immediately.

      Be Web Wise

      Be wary of communications that ask you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information. There are certain red flags to watch for that may indicate you're dealing with a scammer.

      Be aware of anyone who…

      Quickly asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service

      Claims to be from U.S. but currently travelling, living or working abroad

      Asks you for money

      Vanishes mysteriously from the site, then reappears under a different name

      Asks for your address under the guise of sending money

      Makes an inordinate amount of grammar and/or spelling errors

      Sends you emails containing strange links to third-party websites

      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's advice to avoid online scams is available here: http://onguardonline.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams

      Be cautious and use common sense. If personal details provided by another person don't seem to add up, they behave suspiciously or pressure you for personal or financial information – block communications with that person and report them to Sittercity immediately.

      Report suspicious users

      You should report concerns about any suspicious user to Sittercity’s Member Services.

      Additionally, please report anyone who violates the terms of use. Examples of terms of use violations include:

      Asking you for money or donations

      Members sending harassing or offensive emails

      Members behaving inappropriately after meeting in person

      Fraudulent registration or profiles

      Spam or solicitation, such as invitations to call 1-900 numbers or attempts to sell products or services

      Your involvement will help keep the community fun and enjoyable.

    2. Offline Safety Tips

      Use the following guidelines when meeting an individual.

      Get to know the other person before meeting them offline

      Use the technology on Sittercity that protects your anonymity to get to know someone before disclosing personal information or meeting in person. We don't automatically conduct criminal background checks on our users, so if you would like more information about someone, we recommend purchasing a background check through Sittercity. Additional research can be done by typing the person's name into a search engine and reviewing public information made available by government offices.

      Always meet in public

      Meet for the first time in a populated, public location – never in a private or remote location, and never at your home or their home.

      Tell a friend

      Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where you're going. If you own a mobile phone, make sure you have it with you.

      Drive yourself to and from the first meeting

      Just in case things don't work out, you need to be in control of your own ride – even if you take a taxi.

    3. Additional Articles: The links below contain additional Internet safety tips from STOP. THINK. CONNECT. the national cybersecurity awareness campaign of the National Cyber Security Alliance, that may be helpful in developing safe Internet practices.

      Spam & Phishing

      Social Networks

      Raising Digital Citizens

      STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips & Advice

      Mobile Tip Sheet

      1. SPAM & PHISHING

        Cybercriminals have become quite savvy in their attempts to lure people in and get you to click on a link or open an attachment.

        The email they send can look just like it comes from a financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency or any other service or business.

        It often urges you to act quickly, because your account has been compromised, your order cannot be fulfilled or another matter.

        If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it with these steps:

        Contact the company directly.

        Contact the company using information provided on an account statement or back of a credit card.

        Search for the company online – but not with information provided in the email.

        Spam:

        Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk mail. The term refers to unsolicited, bulk – and often unwanted – email.

        Here are ways to reduce spam:

        Enable filters on your email programs: Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and email providers offer spam filters. However, depending on the level you set, you may wind up blocking emails you want. It’s a good idea to occasionally check your junk folder to ensure the filters are working properly.

        Report spam: Most email clients offer ways to mark an email as spam or report instances of spam. Reporting spam will also help to prevent the messages from being directly delivered to your inbox.

        Own your online presence: Consider hiding your email address from online profiles and social networking sites or only allowing certain people to view your personal information.

        Phishing:

        Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites (clicking on a link) to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses.

        Spear Phishing:

        Spear phishing is highly specialized attacks against a specific target or small group of targets to collect information of gain access to systems.

        For example, a cybercriminal may launch a spear phishing attack against a business to gain credentials to access a list of customers. From that attack, they may launch a phishing attack against the customers of the business. Since they have gained access to the network, the email they send may look even more authentic and because the recipient is already customer of the business, the email may more easily make it through filters and the recipient maybe more likely to open the email.

        The cybercriminal can use even more devious social engineering efforts such as indicating there is an important technical update or new lower pricing to lure people.

        Spam & Phishing on Social Networks

        Spam, phishing and other scams aren’t limited to just email. They’re also prevalent on social networking sites. The same rules apply on social networks: When in doubt, throw it out. This rule applies to links in online ads, status updates, tweets and other posts.

        Here are ways to report spam and phishing on social networks:

        Reporting spam and phishing on Facebook

        Reporting spam on Twitter

        Reporting spam and phishing on YouTube

        How Do You Avoid Being a Victim?

        Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.

        Before sending sensitive information over the Internet, check the security of the website.

        Pay attention to the website's URL. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).

        If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Contact the company using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email. Information about known phishing attacks is available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Report phishing to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

        Keep a clean machine. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

        What to Do if You Think You are a Victim?

        Report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.

        If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close the account(s).

        Watch for any unauthorized charges to your account.

        Consider reporting the attack to your local police department, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

        Additional Resources:

        Anti-Phishing Working Group

        United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

        On Guard Online

        Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips:

        When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

        Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

        Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

        Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

        Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

      2. SOCIAL NETWORKS

        Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social networks have become an integral part of online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about how much personal information you post.

        Have your family follow these tips to safely enjoy social networking:

        Privacy and security settings exist for a reason: Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.

        Once posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. Recent research (http://www.microsoft.com/privacy/dpd/research.aspx) found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

        Your online reputation can be a good thing: Recent research (http://www.microsoft.com/privacy/dpd/research.aspx) also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.

        Keep personal info personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.

        Know and manage your friends: Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.

        Be honest if you’re uncomfortable: If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them respect those differences.

        Know what action to take: If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to the site administrator.

        Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips:

        Keep a clean machine: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

        Own your online presence: When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how you share information.

        Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

        Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

        When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

        Post only about others as you have them post about you.

      3. RAISING DIGITAL CITIZENS

        Teach your children to become good digital citizens with these resources.

        The Internet is a wonderful place for learning and entertainment, but like the world around us, it can pose dangers if precautions are not taken. Allowing free access puts your child, your computer and your personal data at risk.

        Remain positively engaged: Pay attention to and know the online environments your children use. Surf the Internet with them. Appreciate your children’s participation in their online communities and show interest in their friends. Try to react constructively when they encounter inappropriate material. Make it a teachable moment.

        Support their good choices: Expand your children’s online experience and their autonomy when developmentally appropriate, as they demonstrate competence in safe and secure online behavior and good decision making.

        Keep a clean machine: Safety and security start with protecting all family computers with a security suite (anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall) that is set to update automatically. Keep your operating system, web browsers, and other software current as well, and back up computer files on a regular basis.

        Know the protection features of the websites and software your children use: All major Internet service providers (ISPs) have tools to help you manage young children’s online experience (e.g., selecting approved websites, monitoring the amount of time they spend online, or limiting the people who can contact them) and may have other security features, such as pop-up blockers. Third-party tools are also available. But remember that your home isn't the only place they can go online.

        Review privacy settings: Look at the privacy settings available on social networking sites, cell phones, and other social tools your children use. Decide together which settings provide the appropriate amount of protection for each child.

        Teach critical thinking: Help your children identify safe, credible Web sites and other digital content, and be cautious about clicking on, downloading, posting, and uploading content.

        Explain the implications: Help your children understand the public nature of the Internet and its risks as well as benefits. Be sure they know that any digital info they share, such as emails, photos, or videos, can easily be copied and pasted elsewhere, and is almost impossible to take back. Things that could damage their reputation, friendships, or future prospects should not be shared electronically.

        Help them be good digital citizens: Remind your children to be good “digital friends” by respecting personal information of friends and family and not sharing anything about others that is potentially embarrassing or hurtful.

        Just saying "no" rarely works: Teach your children how to interact safely with people they "meet" online. Though it's preferable they make no in-person contact with online-only acquaintances, young people may not always follow this rule. So talk about maximizing safe conditions: meeting only in well-lit public places, always taking at least one friend, and telling a trusted adult about any plans they make – including the time, place, and acquaintance’s contact information (at least a name and cell phone number). Remind them to limit sharing personal information with new friends.

        Empower your children to handle issues: Your children may deal with situations online such as bullying, unwanted contact, or hurtful comments. Work with them on strategies for when problems arise, such as talking to a trusted adult, not retaliating, calmly talking with the person, blocking the person, or filing a complaint. Agree on steps to take if the strategy fails.

        Encourage your children to be "digital leaders:" Help ensure they master the safety and security techniques of all technology they use. Support their positive and safe engagement in online communities. Encourage them to help others accomplish their goals. Urge them to help if friends are making poor choices or being harmed.

        More Ways to Keep Your Children Safer and More Secure Online

        Keep your home computer in a central and open location: If your computer is in the open, you can physically monitor your children while they are online.

        Be aware of all the ways people connect to the Internet: Young people have many options to connect to the Internet beyond a home computer. Phones, tablets, gaming systems and even TVs have become connected. Be aware of all the ways and devices (including what they do at friend’s houses) your children are using and be sure they know how to use them safely and responsibly.

        Talk to other parents: When and how you decide to let your children use the Internet is a personal parenting decision. Knowing what other parents are thinking and allowing their children to do is important and can be helpful for making decisions about what your children do online.

        Know the rules: Not all online services are for kids. Even some of the most popular social networking services and other sites are meant only for use by people 13 and older. There are many terrific sites designed specifically for younger children that provide a safer, more secure and age-appropriate environment.

        Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: The online world is ever changing. New services with great features continually emerge. Knowing about them and how young people use them can help you better understand the digital life your children experience as well as any concerns you may have for your children.

        Consider separate accounts on your computer: Most operating systems allow you to create a different account for each user. Separate accounts can lessen the chance that your child might accidentally access, modify, change settings and/or delete your files. You can set up certain privileges (the things that can and can’t be done) for each account.

        For Emergencies

        Know who to contact if you believe your child is in danger: Visit http://kids.getnetwise.org/trouble/

        If you know of a child in immediate risk or danger, call law enforcement right away. Report instances of online child exploitation to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber Tipline. Reports may be made 24-hours a day, 7 days per week at www.cybertipline.com or by calling 1-800-843-5678.

        Additional Resources

        ConnectSafely.org has basic guidelines for teens and parents about cyberbullying, sexting, social networking, and more.

        Staysafeonline.org provides information and resources to help families make smart choices about what they play, browse, and watch.

        GetNetWise.org is a useful resource for families to learn how to protect themselves from online danger and create the safest online experience possible.

        iKeepSafe.org seeks to give parents, educators, and policymakers the information and tools which power them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the Internet.

        NetSmartz.org is a safety resource from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for children aged 5 to 17, parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement that uses activities to teach Internet safety.

        Lookout Mobile Security & The Online Mom's Generation Smartphone: A Guide for Parents of Tweens &Tweens has resources to help families talk to their kids about mobile security and safe smartphone use.

        OnGuardOnline.gov is the FTC’s main consumer facing website to educate everyone on staying safe and secure online.

        NQ Mobile & National Cyber Security Alliance's Kids and Smartphones: a Guide to Mobile Safety has resources for families who are considering giving their kids a smartphone.

        Webwise.ie is a unique organization that offers fun, challenging and interactive simulations based on real-life criminal cases. Each program has been designed specifically for use with young people in classrooms and computer labs and is guaranteed to be easy to use and flexible with your classroom schedule.

        Wired Safety.org provides help, information and education to Internet and mobile device users of all ages. They help victims of cyberabuse ranging from online fraud, cyberstalking and child safety, to hacking and malicious code attacks. They also help parents with issues, such as social networking and cyberbullying.

      4. TIPS & ADVICE

        Practice good online safety habits with these tips and advice:

        Keep A Clean Machine.

        Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

        Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

        Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.

        Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

        Protect Your Personal Information.

        Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

        Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

        Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

        Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

        Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit who you share information with.

        Connect With Care.

        When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

        Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

        Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “http://” is not secure.

        Be Web Wise.

        Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.

        Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

        Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

        Be a Good Online Citizen.

        Safer for me more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

        Post only about others as you have them post about you.

        Help the authorities fight cyber crime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

        Practice STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and encourage others to do it as well.

      5. MOBILE DEVICES

        Today's mobile devices are as powerful and connected as any PC or laptop. Take the same precautions on your mobile device as you do on your computer with regard to messaging and online safety. The first step is STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

        Keep a Clean Machine

        Mobile devices are computers with software that need to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Security protections are built in and updated on a regular basis. Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer.

        Keep security software current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, operating system and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

        Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.

        Protect Your Personal Information

        Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and. potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer.

        Secure your phone: Use a strong passcode to lock your phone.

        Think before you app: Review the privacy policy and understand what data (location, access to your social networks) the app can access on your device before you download.

        Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.

        Learn how to disable the geotagging feature on your phone at http://icanstalku.com/how.php#disable

        Connect with Care

        Use common sense when you connect. If you're online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.

        Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.

        Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://," which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.

        When in doubt, don't respond: Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or for immediate action are almost always a scam.

        Be Web Wise

        Stay informed of the latest updates on your device. Know what to do if something goes wrong.

        Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.

        Know how to cell block others: Using caller ID, you can block all incoming calls or block individual names and numbers.

        Use caution when meeting face-to-face with someone who you only "know" through text messaging: Even though texting is often the next step after online chatting, it does not mean that it is safer.

        Be a Good Online Citizen

        It is easy to say things via phone or text message that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy online as they would in the real world.

        Safer for me and more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone - at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

        Text to others only as you would have them text to you.

        Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.

        Get permission before taking pictures or videos of others with your phone: Likewise, let others know they need your permission before taking pictures or videos of you.

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