Home > Staying safe > Safer online > Safety advice

Safety advice

Follow our safety advice to prevent common scams and fraud.

Personal details

When browsing websites you may be asked to complete a registration form or online account before you can use them. Whilst this procedure is usually standard, it is good practice to find out what the website will do with your personal details and make sure you know exactly what you are consenting to before signing up. Some providers may share your information with other companies for market research purposes but this should be clearly stated and is only allowed if you chose to opt in. Under the General Data Protection Regulation, companies cannot automatically opt you in to hold or share your details so read all consents carefully before choosing to opt in.

It is a legal requirement for websites to explain how personal information will be used and this information can often be found in the terms and conditions or privacy policy page.

Social media

Once you have shared something online you have lost control of it and it is possible for people to still see things you have posted months or even years later. Some people may use what you have posted online in ways you do not like without you knowing, some people may share things about you which are upsetting.

If someone has upset, bullied or made you feel uncomfortable via social networking sites make sure you know who to contact and what the procedure is. Most social networking sites allow you to control who can see different parts of your profile. By doing this, it means that no-one will be able to find information from your profile even if they look for your name in a search engine. You can find guides for managing privacy settings on social media sites from Internet Matters.

If you feel offended by comments and media always keep a record of the content. All good social media sites will have the facilities for users to report offensive content. Before replying to a message or post, consider what you would say and the effect it may have.

With so many messaging apps and ways to communicate via social media, it is important to remember that however long you have been chatting to someone they are still strangers. Never give out any personal information such as your address, phone number or name and think carefully about meeting someone in the real world who you only know online. Once you have finished, remember to log out properly, especially if you are using a shared computer.

For further safety guidance, tips and guides visit Internet Matters

Online threats

Shopping online is now just as safe as ordering goods over the telephone, as long as you follow a few common sense rules: Make sure that the company website uses a secure shopping server. You can identify this by looking for a padlock icon at the bottom of your browser window, or seeing if the web address begins with ‘https:’

Do not send your bank details to anyone in an email as it is not a secure way of communication.

Never reply to an email which asks you for your financial details, even if the email looks official.

Remember to continuously change and use strong passwords which contain a mixture of letters, symbols and numbers. You can find out if your password has ever been part of a data breach by searching at: www.haveibeenpwned.com

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are emails sent to many people asking for sensitive information (such as bank details) or directing them to visit a fake website to update their account details, for example. Phishing emails are developing and changing all the time with the individuals behind them finding ever more sophisticated ways to encourage unsuspecting people to hand over their details online. Google has a quiz challenge to test your skills at identifying phishing emails, try it out at: https://phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/

Revenge Porn

Did you know that North Yorkshire Police was the first force in the country to successfully prosecute someone over revenge porn? It was made a specific offence in England and Wales in February 2015. Revenge Porn is the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person, without their consent and with the purpose of causing distress.

The offence applies both online and offline and to images which are shared electronically or in a more traditional way so includes the uploading of images on the internet, sharing by text and e-mail, or showing someone a physical or electronic image.

Those convicted will face a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The offence will apply both online and offline, and includes materials shared by text, email, uploaded to websites or by physical distribution.

If you have been affected by Revenge Porn, you can access the Revenge Porn Helpline.

Business Security

We encourage business owners to sign up with the Community Industry Sharing Platform (CISP). This is a cabinet office initiative which brings businesses together to share information on emerging cyber threats. For the latest guidance and advice to keep your business safe and secure online visit the National Cyber Security Centre to see content tailored to the size and scale of your business.

If you think your business could benefit from training then you can contact the Yorkshire and Humber Cyber-Crime Unit to find out about the different types of online safety training offered.

Other sources of information