Parents: Safety Tips for Your Child's Use of the Internet
- Keep the computer that the child is using in a public room. Do not put it in the child's bedroom or anywhere it will be difficult for you to monitor the child's activity online. Review the material that is on your child's computer. If you do not know how, ask a friend, relative or other knowledgeable person to review it for you. Any forms of pornography or sexual communication can be a warning sign that your child has or is communicating with a sexual predator. Further, consider talking openly with your child about the dangers of computer sex offenders.
- Set safety rules that you and your child understand and post them by the computer. Below are some examples:
- Never give out personal information online, such as their full name, address, telephone number, or school information.
- Never upload pictures of themselves on the Internet to people they do not personally know.
- Never download pictures from an unknown source. There is a good chance that these downloaded pictures could be sexually explicit images.
- Never respond to Emails or messages that are suggestive, obscene, or harassing.
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with an individual they met online.
- Use either the parental controls built-in by the service provider or purchase software such as Cyber Sentinel, Net Nanny, Surf Watch or Cyber Sitter that installs parental controls on your computer. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.
- Limit the amount of time your child spends online. Excessive use of the computer by a teenager may signal a problem. There is no substitute for parental supervision. Talk to your children and be aware of their online activities. Know what type of chat rooms, email, and messages your child is involved in online. Also, take part in setting up your child's online account so that you will be aware of their screen name and password. Your child's email should be checked randomly and be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be upfront and honest with your child about your access to their account and the reasons why.
- Investigate the computer safeguards that are used by your child's school and at the homes of their friends. These are all places where your child might access the Internet without normal supervision.
- Use Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies offer this service as well as a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else's Caller ID. Contact your local telephone company for further information regarding various telephone services.
- Spend time with your child online and learn what sites they like and ones they do not.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Exploitation
Should any of the following situations arise in your residence by the use of the Internet you should immediately contact the Peoria Police Department or your local law enforcement agency:
- Your child has received sexually explicit images from someone that knows that your child is under 18 years of age.
- Your child has been sexually solicited by someone who knows that your child is under 18 years of age.
- Your child or anyone in the residence has received child pornography.
If one of these examples occurs, keep the computer turned off in order to preserve any evidence. In addition, you should not attempt to copy any of the material found on the computer, unless directed to do so by the law enforcement agency.
Consumers: Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
- When using the Internet to place orders, offer information only to legitimate businesses that guarantee secure online transactions.
- Before providing personal information, visit Bad Traders.com to learn whether or not the business that you want to purchase from is reputable.
- Keep track of credit and debit card statements monthly. Also, familiarize yourself with the mailing dates of these bills.
- Shred sensitive documents before discarding them into the trash.
- Check with any of the major credit bureaus at least once a year to verify your credit report for accuracy. The three largest are Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax.
Investors: Investigate Before You Invest!
- Print a hard copy of any online solicitation that you are considering. Document the Internet address (URL) and date and time that you saw the offer. You may need it later.
- Never assume that people online are who they claim to be.
- Check with a trusted financial adviser attorney about an investment you find online.
- Anyone can advertise on the internet, therefore, do not assume that your internet service provider has approved the investment.
- Ask the online promoter whether or not they've been paid to promote the opportunity. Also, ask the promoter where the company is incorporated. Then call that state's Secretary of State and ask if the company is incorporated with them.
- Before investing online, obtain financial information about the company. Documents such as an annual report and financial statements should be compared with the information provided to you online.
- Never believe everything you read online. Investigate an online opportunity before investing.
If you feel you may have been victimized, report it promptly. The sooner you report it the better chance you might have of getting your money back.
Internet Scams: Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim
- Avoid overstated claims of product effectiveness.
- Avoid advertisers that use hype titles and words such as "hot" to describe an investment opportunity.
- Avoid exaggerated claims of profit or potential earnings. Phrases such as "Your principle is guaranteed" should be considered as a warning sign.
- Avoid promotions such as exotic investments such as ostrich farming, gold mining and wireless cable TV.
For Suspected Internet Violations Contact the:
Peoria Police Department
600 SW Adams Street
Peoria, IL 61602
Telephone Number: 309-673-4521
Email the Peoria Police Department