The Internet is an opportunity for you to interact with people. It provides a
communication link to businesses, entertainment, and education. Through the
Internet you can interact with people from other towns, cities, and countries.
You can learn about other cultures, customs and lifestyles. It is an opportunity
to make new friends and learn more about the world in which we live.
However, the Internet by design is an anonymous media. This aspect can make
it easy for someone to use the Internet for criminal means. Because you are
'speaking' with someone via your computer, it is nearly impossible to verify
many things about that person. These may include:
The Person's Identity - The Person with whom you
are speaking may not be using their real name. It is possible with some
Internet Service Providers (ISP's) to check the account information of
someone you've had contact with. However, that person may have been using
someone else's account or may have provided false information to the ISP.
The Person's Description - We often take for
granted the ability to see the person we are speaking with. However, on the
Internet nothing can be verified. You can not use your eyes to verify the
person's age, race, or even gender.
The Person's Location - On the Internet it is
very easy for someone to say they are one place, when in reality they could
be around the corner or across the country.
The Person's Intentions - Most people use the
internet for honest and honorable intentions. However, someone who exploits
the Internet, especially criminals and con artists, can seem very
straightforward at first, but they are experts at manipulation. They use
confidence-scams, or even just friendly conversation, to make you believe
what they want you to believe. Then they have you act on that belief.
Connection Security - Internet security is very
important and new technologies are being developed everyday to ensure your
protection. However, there are persons out there who know how to intercept
communications. Your communication with a known friend or acquaintance could
be seen by others. There is also no guarantee that the person you are
'speaking' with is acting alone or uses good security with your information.
Common sense tempered with caution is still your best protection. Listed
below are some safety tips you should use when communicating on-line:
- Do not give out any personal information, home address or phone number. If
you are using a 'nickname' don't give out your real name to anyone you don't
know. If you are listed in the phone book, they can use it to find you.
- Do not give anyone your account password. No legitimate and reputable ISP
will send you a message or e-mail asking for your password or account
information. Many hackers know how to send you messages that appear to be
from your ISP. If you receive one of these messages contact your provider
- Do not give out any personal account information such as internet account
or personal financial accounts (credit card or checking/saving accounts)
until you are absolutely sure of their credibility and connection security.
- Do not arrange a personal meeting with anyone you have met on the Internet
unless, and until, you are able to verify their true identity and can
arrange the following:
|Meet in a public place that is well lighted and busy.
|Meet during busy business hours and not close to closing or after dark.
|Arrange your own transportation to and from the meeting.
|Bring a friend; Double-date. Do not meet the
A stranger you meet on the Internet is just like a stranger you meet in a bar,
restaurant, or on the street!! Use the same precautions you use in these
situations, when meeting people on the Internet!!
If you do have suspicions about someone you may have spoken with on the
Internet, or if you have in someway been offended or threatened, contact your
service provider immediately. Give them as much information about the situation
as possible. This should include any contact information, such as on-screen
name, account information (name, address, phone, account number) and/or e-mail
address. You should also be straight-forward as to how you were offended or
threatened. Most ISP's provide on-line information on reporting such incidents.
Be familiar with your provider's procedures.
If at any time you suspect criminal activity is taking place, or if you are
threatened or harassed, you may contact the Patton Borough Police Department by
calling 9-1-1. Be ready to provide the above information to the responding