Police warn young and old to stay safe online

Date Published: 19/08/2013 11:05

For the next two weeks Cumbria Police will be warning people in Cumbria of the risks associated with going online – such as fraud and blackmail.


The information will be sent out via Cumbria Police’s Facebook and Twitter pages.


This is part of Cumbria Constabulary’s internet safety campaign, which aims to raise awareness of how people can stay safe online. It was launched on Monday 22nd July and runs until the end of the school summer holidays (5th September).


The previous fortnight focused on ‘sexting’ – advising teenagers about the dangers of sending explicit images of themselves via technology.


One recent warning from Cumbria Police in May highlights some of the risks associated with going online. The warning was aimed at men who use social networking and online dating sites, as some were being targeted by fraudsters posing as attractive young women.


The victims are encouraged into nudity and sexual acts through the online conversation. They are then immediately presented with the video onscreen accompanied by a cash demand – to avoid the video being shown to family and friends via the internet and social media.


However there are many other risks related to engaging with the internet.


Detective Inspector Stephanie Brown, Public Protection Unit at Cumbria Constabulary, explains:


“The internet has revolutionised the way many of us live our lives, in many ways for the better. However, there are dangers associated with the internet of which I would encourage everyone to be aware.


“These dangers usually arise from either visiting malicious websites or inadvertent disclosure of personal information. It is very important to always be vigilant when supplying personal or financial details.


“Some easy precautions against fraud include ensuring your browser is up-to-date, checking for indications a website is genuine (for example contact details), and checking the website’s address appears genuine. If you are suspicious of a website, carry out a web search to see if it is genuine.”


Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes said:


“We nearly all use modern technology in one way or another whether it is through our mobile phones or the comfort of our armchair.  In fact we are more likely to be a victim of crime via the internet than any other location. Therefore, it is imperative that we take all the safety advice and use the internet responsibly and protect ourselves.”


Helen Smith, from Children’s Services at Cumbria County Council, said:


“Young people can be particularly vulnerable to malicious websites and sharing too much personal information – however this is an area that does affect everyone.


“I would encourage everyone to follow Cumbria Police on Facebook and Twitter for the next two weeks for invaluable advice and information about the internet. As long as people take simple precautions the internet is a powerful tool.”

For more information or advice please visit: http://www.cumbria.police.uk/advice-and-information/online-safety

If you see something online that you believe may be illegal please call Cumbria Police on 101.

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