How to Use Instant Messaging Safely

Use Instant Messaging Safely

  • Never give out passwords, credit card information or other private data.
  • Block strangers. If your software allows it, set up the system so that only people on your ‘allow’ list can contact you.
  • Be very wary of disclosing any private information to a stranger you meet via instant messaging. Even apparently innocent information like the name of your employer can be used against you by fraudsters.
  • Never click on links that you receive through instant messaging from people that you do not know and trust, and that you have never met in real life.
  • Leave your online profile blank, or where you have to enter data to use the system, enter fictitious data.
  • Do not use your system or email password to log on to an IM system.
  • IM is not encrypted, so do not use it to transmit information such as credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
  • Disable automatic downloads.
  • Verify the information you receive on IM elsewhere. In particular, check any security ‘advice’ you get.
  • Keep your IM software up to date.
  • Do not let children use instant messaging chat rooms unsupervised.