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Crime & Safety
Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Internet Safety Month


June is Internet Safety Month. Many schools are no longer in session, leading to more screen and online time. The Better Business Bureau encourages everyone to stay safe while online and avoid being easy targets for online scammers. Share with care, and remember: personal information is like money.

Some of the most commonly reported scams include creating accounts on websites without permission. Social media sites are no exception; many sites will sell unauthorized user details to advertisers looking to engage in targeted marketing. When creating an account, the user may falsely create a birthdate to meet the minimum age requirement. 

Beware of online contests and giveaways. They require a hefty amount of personal information to enter, and many are thinly disguised ways of collecting personal or financial information that could lead to identity theft. 

Understand apps. Short for “applications,” apps are downloaded software that operate on various devices. However, there are some things adults should be aware of. Certain apps might collect and share personal information about your child, including ads that look innocent, but aren’t. Even free apps may include paid features, and children may not understand that some apps or game features cost money, since they were labeled as free to download. They may click on these so-called free games and end up costing parents or guardians a hefty bill at the end of the month. Make sure your child doesn’t have access to banking or credit card information. Parents can have their children read the privacy policies and terms of use of any apps they want to use. 

What’s posted online can last a lifetime. Parents can teach children that any information they share online can easily be copied and is almost impossible to take back.

Online games may bust the summertime boredom blues, but staying current and aware of what's being shared on the internet will keep your information safe. Keep pace with new ways to be safe online, stay up to date with new technology and ways to manage privacy.