How to protect yourself from online predators and scammers

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) If you or your kids like to play online video games, cybersecurity experts are issuing a warning. They say to beware of online predators and scammers. Cybersecurity Expert, and Utah Valley University Professor, Robert Jorgensen, joined Brian Carlson, to explain what they’re seeing and how to protect yourself.

Jorgensen says online games are fun, and can range from educational to pure entertainment, but like anything else online, there is the potential for problems. Because a lot of these accounts represent a significant investment in time or money, they have value to scammers and thieves.

So, make sure you have a strong password, and if your game supports it, a second authentication method. If you are going to buy something for a game, always use the in-game marketplace. Remember that the companies who create these games are never going to ask you to type your password in a chat screen or in an email to them.

Chatting online is one of the biggest risks for children. It is hard to know who is on the other end talking to them.  A lot of games that are designed for kids don’t allow chat between players, or they only allow for preset messages. Most games have a way to block chatting with someone. If a person makes you uncomfortable, block them. Similarly, let your children know they should tell you if someone says something that seems strange or inappropriate. 

Jorgensen says a big risk is giving out personal information. Help children choose a username that doesn’t contain any personal information. Don’t have them use a real photo for an avatar. Basically, anything that allows them to stay relatively anonymous.

A lot of people will search for game cheats and things like that on the internet. Be aware that some of the sites that offer such things may be distributing malware or trying to steal person information. It’s best to avoid those kind of sites.

The National Cyber Security Alliance has more great tips on their website, StaySafeOnline.org

You can also visit UVU.edu/Cybersecurity for more information.
 

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