The internet is an amazing tool for kids and adults to learn, explore and expand horizons. However, there are many risks to using the internet and it is important to take precautions while online.

What are the risks of using the internet?

  • Viewing inappropriate material such as photos and stories of explicit sexual material, illegal drug use or how to make weapons.
  • The promotion of violence against humans, animals or institutions that will desensitize users to the violence
  • The promotion of hate and racism through coercion, indoctrination and recruitment material. Some sites promote hatred and intolerance, deny the holocaust, promote cults, self-mutilation, suicide and criminal acts.
  • The commission of many Criminal acts including, but not limited to
    • The promotion of drug manufacturing, sale or possession
    • The down-loading of child pornography
    • Frauds including identity theft and mass marketing scams
    • Criminal Harassment / Bullying
    • Sexual Exploitation

Tips for Staying Safe While Online

Ensure that you have an up-to-date security program installed on your computer and always ensure that your wireless network is password protected.

Photos and files sent over the internet are irretrievable.

 Ensure that you have enabled the appropriate privacy settings on your online profiles/accounts.

Do not post your personal information such as address, phone number, date of birth online.

If you receive a request for money, take measures to verify the requestor’s identity and the veracity of their story.  Tasks that involve cheques for deposit into your personal bank account should be avoided.

Use caution when conducting business over the internet.  Criminals can use the anonymity of the internet to rip off unsuspecting buyers and sellers.  Be certain you are dealing with a legitimate website.  Follow the website’s transaction safety guidelines.  Select a secure payment service yourself rather than accept advice from the seller.  Be aware of common scams involving overpayment being made for goods using forged business cheques.  Never accept a cheque for more than your selling price.

If you are involved with online dating don’t send anyone money.  Many perpetrators will contact victims through online dating sites. After talking and gaining the victim’s trust, they ask them for money or to assist them in committing a fraud.

If you are meeting someone in person that you have only ever talked to online, ensure that you meet in a well-lit, public place.  Ensure that you have made a close friend or family member aware of your meeting.

Do not reply to any “Spam” emails and never open unsolicited email or attachments from a stranger as it may contain a program that allows the sender to hack into your computer.

When placing an add using sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist, ensure that you don’t accept money by a wire transfer or cheque.


Reporting an Internet Crime

The Hamilton Police Service is committed to addressing computer crime. To that end, the Service has created a Technology Crime Unit to support front line investigation of computer and internet crime. The technology Crime Unit, one of the few in the province, is accessible to Police officers only.

If you received any threatening or inappropriate messages, or if you are a victim of fraud or harassment you should contact your Internet Service Provider.

If the matter requires Police involvement, please contact the Hamilton Police Service at 905-546-4925

If you have information regarding computer crime please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)

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