Help and advice Personal safety advice Safety Online DISCLAIMER: The Suzy Lamplugh Trust would like to clarify that general personal safety advice provided on our web pages is in no way intended to suggest that taking such actions will eliminate incidents of aggression and violence. The guidance merely helps readers better understand how to assess and mitigate risks to their personal safety. The information listed may therefore be used as the preliminary steps one can take to either conduct risk planning, where it is possible in specific contexts, or alert others if they feel unsafe. This advice is also embedded in the wider advocacy work we do to address the root causes of violence and aggression across society. Online dating Read and follow all safety advice given on dating websites. Don't disclose personal information such as address, telephone number or workplace to unknown persons online. Keep all communications with unknown persons through the dating website channels and not via personal communications such as social media. Many dating website and forums will have rules to protect users from people using the site incorrectly. Report any suspicious or offensive behaviour to the online dating site. Consider creating a username that doesn’t reveal too much about yourself. When chatting with someone online consider talking about where you’ve been rather than where you’re going. Turn off your geo-location tags on your phone before sending images to someone else. Some mobile phones and digital cameras automatically attach data to the photo file that identifies where the picture was taken, so turning this function off helps you to avoid a situation where someone you met online, might be able to trace your movements. Meeting up in person Tell someone where you’re going, who you’re meeting (name, website arranged through etc) and check in with them before, during and after the date. Agree that if you don’t check in as agreed or respond then your friend would call the place where you’ve met or even go there to check on you. Take a charged phone with credit. Take money for a taxi home/ plan a route on public transport Try and keep the number of a local, licensed mini-cab firm with you. Don’t give away personal information on a first date e.g. home address. Don't leave drinks or devices such as phones unattended. Meet in a public space and plan an exit strategy if needed. Don’t share a taxi home with someone you don’t know. Carry a personal alarm. Social Networks Avoid sharing your personal details such as your address, phone number, routine or place of work. Review your privacy settings to make sure that only your friends can see your profile details and pictures. When posting about your life, or with someone online, talk about where you’ve been rather than where you’re going. Avoid adding people that you don’t know, as contacts or friends. Do not share your passwords with anyone. If you think you may have revealed it accidentally, change the password as soon as possible. Try to use memorable hard to guess passwords, such as a phrase or fact, rather than using the automatic log-in function offered on some browsers, and change them regularly. Computers, laptops, tablets and devices Install anti-virus and anti spyware software if required, and make sure it’s up to date. Try to use memorable hard to guess passwords, such as a phrase or fact, and update it regularly. Avoid saving sensitive information to your desk top. If your device is stolen or lost, it could be very easy for someone to access this information. If you suspect that someone has hacked your computer, or is able to access or read what you are doing on your computer, get a recommended licensed computer company to check whether spyware may have been uploaded onto your device. Use your anti-virus/spyware tools to run regular checks and consider using a safe alternative computer (such as a friend and immediately change the passwords on your key online accounts such email, social networking, bank/PayPal accounts. Email Use a memorable hard to guess password, such as a phrase or fact, and update it regularly. Consider creating different email accounts to use with financial services and retail accounts. If someone gains unauthorised access to your email, change your password as soon as possible. Mobile phones Set up a PIN number to unlock your phone. Use random numbers instead of date of birth or other guessable formats. Try to set it to lock after one or two minutes without use. Carry a charger wire or portable charger to make sure you are topped up when required. Avoid saving any personal/sensitive information on your phone. Consider turning off geolocation services in camera apps and your mobile settings when you don't need it.