5 Ways To Stay Safe Online

When I was a naive 17 year old and I was about to embark on my life at university I decided to join loads of those student forums and university sites to try and meet up with people just like me on their way to university. Thats when I was Catfished. For those who don't know what Catfishing is, there is an amazing documentary on Netflix and a follow up tv show on MTV. Its basically where a person pretends to be someone else online. 
I wasn't Catfished in the traditional sense. The guy was who he said in the photos and was his actual name but he faked a Canadian girlfriend and that he lived in Canada and was moving over to the UK for uni.
 He also made claims like he'd got a train going from London to the North which passed through Bristol which at the time I fully believed and now I'm like I have never heard of such an indirect train route. He also claimed his best friend died in a helicopter crash, whilst he was on the phone. Now I've not been in a helicopter but I'm guessing its too loud for phone calls.
Anyway. I only found out because his Canadian "girlfriend" messaged me saying he had told her I was his new girlfriend and she said she had been speaking to me on MSN. And she wasn't his girlfriend, they had met once and remained friends online. I confronted him and immediately stopped speaking to him. I then saw him a thousand times at Uni and always warned girls as to what a little creep he was. 
I'm really glad this happened to me so early on in my online days because it made me very aware people are not what they seem and thankfully nothing too crazy happened to me, but its not always that way. I know these seem really simple things but I see so many people not adhere to these things. I know it can seem a little extreme but I would rather be safe than sorry because you never know who is on the other side of that profile you've just added.

These are just a few tips to staying safe online;

1. Never Ever Mention/Show Your Address

I have seen so many people's snapchats or twitter where they've shown a package and shared their address without thinking or tagging their address on Facebook. Even taking a picture of your walk home. You are opening up yourself to all kinds of danger. I've known of people to get robbed because somebody put they were going on holiday and it was really easy to track down where they lived just through their life on social media. Be careful with sharing your location also. I tend to share it a little later on or try not to tag myself in places. You just never know.

2. Change Your Passwords Every Couple of Months

I used to have my Facebook hacked a lot. I was quite trusting and told ex's/friends my password and then conveniently it would always get hacked. Now I am private about my passwords and I keep them random with lots of number in them and capitals etc. Try and have different passwords for everything and try not to store them on your phone or laptop just in case they are ever stolen.

3. Keep As Private As Possible

Obviously its hard as a blogger to keep anonymous online as you want to have a social media presence to be successful and you want to share your posts. However I keep my Facebook private and I only have friends on it and all my photos are private. There's nothing on their to give away where I am or any of my contact details. You can go onto your Facebook settings and see exactly who sees what when they visit your page.

4. Be Careful Who You Add

I once was under the idea that the more friends I had on Facebook, the more cool and popular I look. This is obviously fucking stupid but its how I felt. So I accepted every weirdo. Until one of the guys stole my photos and created a fake account and pretended I was his girlfriend called Claire and he would write posts to himself as me like "Love you baby" etc. I reported the page but as he had blocked me, he may have made a new account with the same pictures which makes you feel kind of gross.
Again its hard to stop people following you. If you do have anyone behaving strange then block them!

5. Never Display Your Phone Number

This is obviously hard if you have your own business but I would possibly suggest getting a second phone but its your call. At University I had a job selling tickets for a nightclub and I put my phone number online and subsequently got bombarded with dick pics off a stranger for months. Well not a stranger, but someone who I went to uni with who was obviously proud of his penis. I eventually changed my number because it just got annoying more than anything.


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