PFCC warns residents to ‘Tread with Care’ whilst online
Cumbria reminded to watch their Digital Footprint this summer
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is working with leading online safety organisation, Get Safe Online, to remind residents of the importance of taking care of their digital footprint this summer.
Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online explains, “Every time you visit a website, send or receive a message or email, buy or book anything online, comment on a post, upload a photo or find directions on your phone, you’re adding to your digital footprint. When you stream music, make a video call or use a smart speaker – that adds to your digital footprint too. Today, most of us are creating a digital history but what is important is that you are aware of the consequences if you don’t handle it with care. Our advice is here to help.”
Your digital footprint is part of your online history and can potentially be seen by other people, or tracked and held in multiple databases, however careful you are with your privacy settings. Here are just a few examples of what can happen:
- Prospective or current employers can look into your and family members’ background.
- Applications for schools, colleges, universities, scholarships, clubs or even sports teams could be rejected.
- You, family members or friends could fall victim to fraud, identity theft or both.
- Your children could be at risk of criminal activity threatening their online or physical safety.
- You could be refused life, medical, property or vehicle insurance based on information you have shared online.
To manage your digital footprint with care Get Safe Online recommends the following:
- Think twice before sharing information about yourself, family members or friends that would be better kept private. That goes for social media, forms on websites and apps, responding to texts and messages and when taking part in surveys and quizzes.
- Think before you post. Even if your social media privacy settings are set up correctly, there’s no guarantee that your posts or photos won’t be shared beyond those who you want to see them.
- Be aware that every time you visit a website, your activity is visible to tech companies like website owners, browsers and search engines.
- Read terms and conditions and data privacy policies on websites and apps before providing any personal data or making transactions. What can the providers do with your data, and why would you agree to it? If you’re not comfortable with the information being requested, don’t provide it.
- Check geolocation settings on mobile devices, apps and cameras. If you don’t want anybody to know your whereabouts – or where you’ve been – disable them.
- Never stop enjoying the many excellent benefits of using the internet, but always bear in mind the digital trail you may be leaving, who may be able to access it and how they may be able to use it.
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The internet is a fantastic tool to keep up with family and friends, do some shopping, open bank accounts and much more.
“However, it is really important that we are careful about how much information we share about ourselves and the terms we agree to whilst online.
“It is never the fault of the victim who is targeted by fraud and identity theft – that blame solely sits with the criminal. However, we can make it harder for these criminals to target us.
“I would urge all residents to visit www.getsafeonline.org to learn more about a digital footprint and how to further protect themselves.
“If you have been the victim of a cyber-crime, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”
For everything you need to know about protecting yourself, visit www.getsafeonline.org and search ‘Digital Footprint’.