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Why this matters to you

For most of us, the internet opens up new opportunities. We can shop, bank, research, work and connect when and where we want to. But the online world can also give criminals opportunities to steal money, information or identities.

Many Australians may not be aware of the risks we face in cyberspace – but the good news is that you can take simple steps to better protect your personal and financial information online.

When you share things online you may be sharing with people you do not know or trust. Once a message, photo or video has been shared, you also won't be able to control where it goes. Financial losses, scams, identity theft and fraud are some of the more serious issues that you might face if you don’t have things in place to manage how you share your personal information online.

In 2015 Australians lost $229 million to scams. Nearly 40 percent of scam approaches occurred through email, over the internet or through a social network platform and accounted for 44 percent of losses. This included over 15,000 reports of phishing scams resulting in a total reported loss of $363,270.

Protecting yourself online is about more than avoiding financial losses. Imagine if all your family photos were suddenly taken from your computer? Or your personal email contact list was stolen and used to scam your friends and family? The same measures you can use to protect your information from criminals can also save your valued files from accidents, failure and loss. Simple things like backing up your data can protect your valuable personal files, photos and video.

Taking care of your safety online is no more complicated than the steps you take in other aspects of your life. We all do things to safeguard our physical belongings such as locking our doors and keeping hold of our wallets. By taking the same care of your devices and when engaging online, you can protect yourself and your online assets.

This is where Stay Smart Online can help! We provide easy to understand tips and techniques for you to stay secure when working, socialising or just browsing online. A good place to start is our My Guide: Protect yourself in 8 steps!