Being safe online

The internet is a useful resource, allowing you to shop, connect with family and friends and find out information on the topics and issues that interest you.

However, it is important to be aware that online fraudsters exist and can take advantage of vulnerable people in a number of ways.

Simple precautions and an awareness of possible threats can help you to stay safe online:

  • Watch out for suspicious emails
  • Only use reputable websites
  • Check your account and privacy settings
  • Block junk mail received by email
  • Only connect to people you know, for example, when on social media sites
  • Consider using a nickname, not your real name when online
  • Guard personal information
  • Delete old accounts if you no longer use them.

Email scams and spam

Spam are unsolicited emails (emails that you haven't asked for) and should be avoided and not opened.

Some spam emails ask for personal information, such as your bank details, usernames or passwords. This is called 'phishing'.

If you get an email from an organisation claiming to be a bank saying there is a problem with your account, don't reply to the email and NEVER send details of your bank account, password or pin number. No real bank or building society will ask you to do this.

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying is when you get bullied online by email, text messages or on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, whether you are using a computer, mobile or tablet.

If you are being bullied in this way, the best way to deal with it is to 'stop, block and tell'. Don't answer back. Simply block the person or message that is upsetting you and tell someone you trust.


Viruses are malicious computer programs that are hidden in emails that are activated when you open the email. They can corrupt computer systems and destroy data. You can protect your personal information and devices by installing anti-virus software, keeping and ensuring that it is regularly updated can help to protect devices against viruses.

Advice and support