Sadly, scams aimed at teens and young people are on the rise. Recent figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority have revealed that 16% of 18 to 21 years olds have been caught out by coronavirus-related scams (as opposed to 1% of those aged over 55) - so it’s critical that young people and their families are clued-up on the dangers and how to avoid them. We caught-up with security architect, Dave Farndale, to get his family-friendly advice on staying safe online… 
“Email, phone and text scams are always on the rise. Whilst email technology has advanced to try and combat spam and phishing emails, some still find their way into our inboxes. If you don’t know the sender or wasn’t expecting the email, do not open it, and if you do, DO NOT click on any links within it.” 
Signs to watch out for 
“Check the sender's email address. Email addresses can be made to look legitimate, but there can be tell-tale signs. Some of the characters could be replaced, for example, you may receive an email from a service provider such as, but the sender email might look like this or ACCOUNTS@AMAZ0N.COM, where the o is replaced with 0 (zero). 
Unfortunately these days we all have to think before we act, so ask yourself, was I expecting this message/email? Are there any spelling mistakes in the message? Does this message look real?” 
Video call safety 
“You should only join video calls that you are sure are being hosted by somebody you know, such as a teacher or tutor. If you receive a meeting invite from someone that you don’t know, do not join it and instead tell an adult. You won’t get into trouble for being careful. 
When using video call software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google, each of these utilising both audio and video functionality, care should be taken to ensure that these calls are terminated properly when finished, or at a minimum at the end of each day. It could be possible for the camera and the microphone to be left on inadvertently.” 
Maximising safety 
“Most modern routers have a content filtering functionality of some kind, even the very basic ones can help stop inappropriate content from being viewed online. This is not always configured as standard, so there may be some set-up to be done, however there are plenty of good instructional videos on YouTube that can help with this.” 
Shared devices 
“Parents or carers allowing young people to use their devices should also be careful that their emails and files cannot be accessed whilst in use. The simplest way to facilitate this is to create a user account on the device (where possible) and ensure that the account is not an administrator account, allowing only access to what is required. 
Adults and guardians should check on their children regularly throughout the day and ask them if everything is ok, has anything happened that they weren't expecting and not be afraid to talk to them about the things that scammers are doing.” 
Here’s our essential top-10 checklist for staying safe online…. 
1. Make sure passwords are strong and not easy to guess, and never share them with anyone else. 
2. Beware of unexpected messages from strangers - even if they appear to be from a child. If you don’t know them, do not engage with them or accept their friend requests. 
3. Make sure social media accounts are private and you only have people you actually know on your friend lists. 
4. Keep your privacy settings switched on on your email, internet and social media accounts. If you don’t know how to do this, a quick google search should help. 
5. Talk about online security with your family and friends - there are always new scams and tricks doing the rounds, and it’s good to share this information. 
6. Never share personal information like your address, phone number or date of birth, and be careful what can be seen on photographs, like letters or house numbers. 
7. Never click links on unexpected emails or texts - even if they seem to be genuine. Check the email addresses for strange spellings or mistakes. 
8. Know how to block or report content - a quick google search will show you how to do this, and will help in the fight against cyber crime. 
9. Never join a video call if you’re not sure who has invited you, and always make sure your camera is switched off after video calls. 
10. Don’t hide anything from your parents or guardians. If you receive a message on your phone, email or social media accounts from a person or an organisation you’re not sure about, tell them. 
Tagged as: cyber security, internet
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