Are you safe online?


Recently I was contacted by a woman who was receiving unwanted attention by someone whom she met briefly online.  She was wanting self defence training to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
This is not the first time I have talked to someone in this type of situation.  In fact quite a number of the people we train are there because they are being stalked by ex-partners or people they have met online.
And there are also many other situations where people have fallen prey to the negative side of the internet with problems such as cyber bullying, online scams, identity theft just to name a few.
Below are some safety tips and tricks which can increase your online safety or at the very least make you think twice before posting personal information online.


Social Media

  • Turn off Location Services on your mobile phone so that social media shares do not inadvertently identify your location.
  • Do not reveal your travel plans online – show those holiday snaps after you return home:  On the website is the following information:   In a survey undertaken by British security firm Friedland, 80% of 50 interviewed ex-criminals believe that burglars today are using popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to monitor when homeowners are out of town. Now the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is warning holiday makers to keep their travel plans off social networking sites to reduce the risk of burglary.  (On a sidenote – some UK Insurance Companies are refusing claims where the customer had posted their holiday destination, while they were on holiday)
  • Avoid sharing personal details.
  • Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network.
  • Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent.

Online Dating

  • Make sure that until you get to know the person well, meet somewhere public.  Never arrange for your initial meeting at your place or at theirs.
  • Don’t walk home with an online date.
  • Tell at least one friend about your plans and when you will return.  Arrange to check in with them after each for the first few dates.
  • Don’t leave personal items unattended – especially items that could reveal personal information about you such as a drivers licence, credit cards etc.
  • Never respond to a request for money or bank account details or other personal information.
  • Don’t share pictures or information about yourself that gives someone any sort of hold over you.
  • Don’t be talked into anything that is not in your best interests.  Think before you act.

Woman murdered by man with over 100 convictions

An Australian woman named Sharon Siermans was the single mother of a four-year-old son when she met Jason John Dinsley online. What she didn’t know was that Dinsley had over 100 prior criminal convictions, including rape at knifepoint. After a first date, she did not ask Dinsley for a second date, which wounded his ego and enraged him. He broke into her home one night in April 2013 and bashed her to death with a cricket bat while her four-year-old son Aron hid nearby, terrified.

When a family friend stopped by to check up on Sharon the next morning, little Aron told her, “There was a big man last night and he bashed Mummy with a bat. Mummy won’t wake up to give me any breakfast.”

Australian Womens Weekly – 22 Jan 2014


Children using websites, chatrooms and social networking sites may be exposed to crimes such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying and cybergrooming.

A study by Monash University found that 72 per cent of surveyed Australian middle school students had experienced unwanted or unpleasant contact by strangers on their social networking profile. Illegal material, such as photos that exploit children, is also widely distributed online.

If you have children don’t be afraid to monitor the sites that they are looking at.  Put your computer out in a public space in your home (ie not in your childs bedroom) so that you can keep a closer eye on what content they are looking at.  Sexual predators are prolific online and it is very very difficult to differentiate between your child talking to another child or to an adult who has trained themselves to ‘talk like a child’.  You owe it to your child to protect them.

Gold Coast man charged with grooming kids for sex through fake Facebook account

AN ONLINE predator has been arrested on the Gold Coast, accused of grooming children for sex through a fake Facebook account.

Detectives from the Gold Coast’s Child Protection and Investigation Unit pounced on the 27-year-old man’s house at Parkwood on Wednesday following a series of similar raids earlier in the week.

It’s believed the man groomed his victim through a fake profile on Facebook which has prompted the Gold Coast’s Child Abuse Unit to issue a timely warning of the dangers of young people befriending strangers online.  

The Parkwood man was charged with multiple offences including indecent treatment of a child, attempting to procure a child under 16, possession of child exploitation material and extortion

June 4, 2015 –

General online safety

  • Always shop on a secure website .  The address should begin with ‘https://’, not ‘http://’and display the image of a closed padlock (usually in the bottom right corner of your browser window).
  • If you get harassed online, do not respond (keep a record in case of further investigation).
  • NEVER allow explicit photos of yourself to be taken in ANY circumstance.
  • An ‘online friend’ that you don’t know in real life is a STRANGER
  • Passwords MUST NOT BE SHARED!!!!! Choose passwords that others can’t guess…..not your favourite food, birthdate, address or pets name. Should be a mix of caps/letters/numbers/symbols.
  • Change passwords occasionally.
  • Be aware that information on the internet is not always reliable.
  • Make sure that you have strong anti-virus software and that you keep your security up to date.
  • Call you bank to verify any Bank or financial institution emails.
  • Review your credit card statements for any inconsistencies.
  • Be aware of any scams – i.e.: emails asking you for money or personal information.
  • Don’t use public computers or unsecured wireless ‘hot spots’ to do your internet banking or payments.

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