How to make your chat rooms safe
Chat rooms are a virtual space which people join to chat in real time. This is the place where they can share their experience, jokes or meet new people. Unlike private chat rooms, where participants chat in one-to-one environment, public chat rooms may hide various dangers, such as:
- Scammers who try to offer dubious or illegal services;
- Fraudsters aiming to steal personal information;
- Files containing viruses which infect your devices and steal information;
- Catfishing to gain your confidence;
- Trolling and cyberbullying;
Staying safe while using online chat rooms is important not only for children and teenagers but also for adult people today. There are more and more scammers who look for victims on such communication channels. Thus, in the modern world not only teenagers, but also adults are at risk of the dangers on the Internet. In this blog post we will discuss the most common dangers and scams of online chat rooms and will provide useful recommendations for staying safe.
Must-follow rules for online safety
It is important to keep in mind that whenever you post any information on public boards or communicate in online chat rooms, you should never disclose your personal information. Instead, you can use a nickname and avoid conversations with those people who pretend to be your friends and try to find out more about you.
You can never be sure that people tell you the truth about their age, post real pictures of themselves or provide truthful information. For some of them you are a prospective victim of their scam scheme. Under-age users must ask parents for advice and assistance in arranging meetings with someone from the online chat. It is necessary to discuss everything with them before making any decision about a meeting or sharing any personal information.
Here is the list of the most important things any online chat rooms participant should bear in mind, no matter whether they are adults, teenagers or children:
- Never share in a public chat any information which can identify yourself, such as address, name, address of the school or telephone number.
- Never send your picture without discussing this with parents or guardians.
- Avoid threads where people threaten or insult one another.
- Never respond to messages which make you feel uncomfortable, just leave such chat rooms to stay calm and safe.
- Make sure you create a strong password and never share it with others.
- Remember that not all chat room participants are honest and kind, some of them may be scammers or mentally sick people.
- Be careful when you get suspicious offers of something for nothing or for the address of your house.
- Remember that any meeting you schedule should be in a public place.
- Never share your credit card details or other payment information.
- Notify your parents or call the police if you feel that someone is stalking you.
- Be suspicious to offers to join someone in a private chat room.
- Block suspicious and threatening people.
- Share with other chat room participants information about scammers, threats or stalkers.
How to stay safe on social media
Today not only children and teenagers join online chat rooms. Various communication channels on social media, Telegram, Viber and other messaging apps spring up like mushrooms after rain. Their admins post news, provide pieces of advice, experts' assistance and offer an ability to join discussions. Very often such channels, social media groups or online chat rooms are used by scammers, stalkers or hackers to steal personal information, collect money for fake charity initiatives, offer illegal goods and services or get access to financial information.
Frequently people who do something illegal use stolen or fake profiles. For scammers social media is a low-cost way to reach billions of people and advertise without risk of being exposed very quickly. Furthermore, they create similar posts in different social media networks and try to reach as many people as possible on various communication channels and online chat rooms. While online chat rooms are mostly used by children and teenagers, social media groups are popular among adults who join them to get news, experts' advice or useful information. Thus, to stay safe on social media you need to follow these rules:
- If you want to keep your information private, make your profile visible only to your friends and hide it from public access.
- If possible, opt out of targeted advertising.
- Beware of romance scams, carefully check all friendship requests and never accept them from people you do not know.
- If you get a message from your friend about an urgent need for money, call them to make sure this is true, because this is the most popular way to cheat people by using hacked profiles.
- When purchasing online, check the information about a company, read reviews and look for customer feedback. This will help you to ensure that the business can be trusted.
Whenever you suspect any scam attempt, see suspicious post or inappropriate content, you need to report this to prevent other people from being scammed or cheated. All in all, your safety is in your hands. Check everything carefully and protect your personal information. By following simple rules, you will save yourself and your children from various dangers on the Internet.
How to use chat rooms safely
Group chat rooms and communication channels can be created in corporate messengers, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Virola. They can be used for educational, communication and information exchange purposes. Such chat rooms are more secure than online chat rooms since they can be accessed only by invitation or after logging into user profiles of the corporate messenger software.
For example, Virola corporate messenger makes it possible to create separate group chat rooms and add there only specific users. Such users will see communication only in those topic-based channels where they were added to. In addition, Virola is self-hosted, which makes communication even more secure. Such software can be used for educational organizations to assist students with their assignments and onboarding process or by consulting companies which need to run their secure and reliable channels to deliver information to their customers.