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A few simple precautions will keep you safe while you are online.

Make sure you are informed about online safety before allowing children access to the internet.

Make sure that your computer is secure – Protect your computer with a firewall and with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

Don’t open spam – Spam is email that is sent automatically to millions of email addresses. It can advertise things such as drugs or pornography. If you receive an email from someone that you have never heard of, don’t open it. Delete the email immediately. If you do open it by accident, don’t click on any of the links and never reply to a spam message.

Protect your personal information – Never give your passwords, PIN numbers or bank account numbers to anyone. Criminals send out emails that look very authentic, asking you to confirm your PIN or to go to a website and log in. If you receive such an email, do not reply to it or click on any of the links, and delete it immediately.

Shop safely – Only buy from online retailers that have a good reputation. If you buy from auction sites, such as eBay, follow their security advice very carefully. Don’t download pirated software, music or videos. For more information on shopping safely, see our section below on shopping online.