(360) 748-6601 | (800) 244-7414 | Espanol (360) 880-0515 info@hrnlc.org

Lewis County’s Accredited Victim’s Services Provider

Electronic Safety

Technology can be a key tool in helping you find valuable resources, help and support. However, even though it is helpful, technology can also be used to monitor your activities without your consent. Awareness and education are the best methods of avoiding being monitored electronically. Below you will find helpful guides and hints detailing electronic threats and how you can best avoid them when seeking help.

When Using a Landline Phone

There are various precautions you can take to drastically reduce the threat of your activity being monitored when using a home or landline telephone.

 Call Logs

Be aware that some landline phones have the ability to store call logs which can then be viewed on a display on the handset or base of the telephone. If the phone you are using has this feature then you maybe able to delete single entries from the logs. If so, remember to delete the entries that could arouse suspicion. Some phones lack the ability to delete single entries and instead feature an option to clear the entire log at once, remember to be careful when using this feature as the missing logs could greatly arouse suspicion and increase your risk

Caller ID and Call backs

Many phones have caller ID which will reveal the number you are calling from to the call recipient, if you are concerned about the safety of a call you are making then remember to dial *67 prior to the number you’re calling. This will hide your number from the majority of phones. However, be aware that there are some services that can reveal your number even if it is blocked. Also make sure that after you’ve finished with your call to dial the number of a local supermarket, resturant or other establishment that is unrelated to the resources you’ve just phoned. This will prevent anyone from dialing *69 on the telephone to monitor your activities. If *69 is dialed it will redial the last number that was called on the phone. If this number was ours or another resource then it could increase your risk.

Being monitored from a distance

You maybe alone physically, but remember that someone could still be listening. If at all possible use a corded phone when seeking help, cordless phones transmit the call over air, using a scanner these calls can often be recieved and overheard without the consent of the parties on either end of the call. Using a cordless phone instead of a cellphone or cordless phone greatly reduces the risk of this type of monitoring. Also remember to check the area for other devices that maybe monitoring your activities, these include babies monitors and cellphones set to automatically and silently answer calls which can then be planted and called in order to listen from afar. If you are afraid that you are being monitored in this fashion you should either use an alternate phone to contact your resources or establish a code word or phrase with a friend in order to alert them when you maybe in danger without arousing suspicion.

When Using the Computer

When using a computer to seek help there are many things you must remember even if no one else has access to your machine.

 Unwanted Software

Be aware of who has used your computer. If someone else is given access to your computer, even if only for a few moments they can install unwanted software on your computer, such as keyloggers that record what you type or other monitoring programs. Most of these montioring programs can be found by using anti-virus software. Remember to keep your anti-virus software up to date and scan for viruses and spyware regularly.

 Physical Access and Strong Passwords

If you aren’t sure that you’re the only one accessing your computer then set a strong password to help protect your account. Remember to make your password hard to guess. Use upper and lower case characters as well as numbers and special characters. Make sure that the password for this account differs from those that you use for other activities and make sure to keep your password well hidden, if you must write it down make sure to put it somewhere secure that you may monitor at all times such as a wallet or purse. Do not keep it on your desk or in a notebook where it could be easily found.

After setting a strong password remember to scan for viruses to be sure that your computer is safe to use.

Your Network

Even if you’ve followed the above steps and your computer is safe, be aware that your computer can be monitored from afar over your home network as well. If another person has access to your network then they can use software to scan the network for information as it is sent out to the internet. If your network is wireless, this is even more of a threat as the area that someone can access the network from is much larger. You can however take steps to fight this. Make sure that you are aware of the computers that are connnected to your wired network. If you are using a wireless network then make sure it is well secured before accessing the internet, two types of security exist for wireless networks: WEP and WPA. WEP is very vulnerable to attack so if you have the option use WPA. If you do not know how to set up protection on your wireless network then contact your ISP for assistance.

When Using a Mobile Phone

Mobile phones are easier to keep your privacy on than landline phones but there are a few things you should remember when using them to seek help.

 Call Records

Mobile phones usually keep a log of recent calls. If you’ve contacted an agency or resource that could put you at risk remember to delete this occurance from your phone’s log, some phones will only allow you to clear the entire log instead of select entries, remember to be careful if this is the only option present on your phone as it could raise suspicion. Also be aware that many carriers will allow the owner of the account to recieve itemized bills listing the calls that were made on each phone. If the primary owner of the account recieving an itemized bill could put you at risk then try to gain access to another, more secure phone or ensure that they are not recieving this type of bill. You can also establish a code word with a close friend or other safe phone number that can be used to alert another person that you are in danger so that they may take the appropriate steps for you.

 Voicemail

Almost all phones feature voicemail, verbal messages can be left if the phone’s owner is not able to answer the call. If you contact help or other resources and they return your calls with voicemail then remember to delete these messages after you’ve viewed them so that they can not be found by anyone who could put you at risk, also remember to set a strong PIN number on your voicemail account if the option is available to you. Your PIN number should not be a number easily guessed by someone who could put you at risk. Avoid using birthdays, social security numbers, lucky numbers or any other easily guessed numbers and remember to keep your PIN well hidden. If you must write it down then place it in your wallet, purse or another location that you are able to monitor well.

Text Messages (SMS) and Picture Mail

Text messages (Also known as SMS messages) are often a safe mode of communication if they are available as some cellular providers will not release a log of text messages even to the primary account holder. If you are communicating with someone that will increase your risk or sharing sensitive information through text messages then remember to delete the messages that could put you at risk.

Many phones also feature picture mail, images that can be sent from one cellular phone to another. Avoid using this feature to share sensitive information if at all possible, especially if you are not the primary account holder. Many cellular providers allow the primary account holder to view the images from picture mail online and sometimes even allow access to the text contained within the message as well.

Internet Access Through Mobile Phones

If your cellular plan includes data, or the ability to access the internet at no additional charge then it is advised to access the internet through your mobile phone. The information accessed online by mobile phones is much harder to track if you clear the internet history of the device after using it to access sensitive information. Most providers will not release logs of the sites accessed by the phone. However, remember to avoid internet access if your plan does not include it as this often incurs charges which could then raise suspicion or put you at risk.

When Using the Internet

When using a computer to seek help there are many things you must remember even if no one else has access to your machine.

 Clearing Your Internet History and Private Browsing

Remember to follow the guides found HERE to clear your web browsers history and mask future activities if you feel that leaving records of accessing this site on the computer you’re using may leave you at risk.

 Passwords

Remember to keep differing, strong passwords on all of the accounts you have online. Passwords should be hard to guess, consist of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. If you must write down your passwords then remember to keep them somewhere safe such as a purse, wallet or other location where they can be monitored often and are not easily found by anyone who could put you at risk.

 Sensitive Information and Social Networking Websites

Avoid posting sensitive or personally identifiable information online. Also, if you access social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter or Myspace then make sure your privacy settings block posts and information from anyone that may put you at risk. Also remember to only add people that you know are safe to your friends list and verify that the people whom request to add you are actually the owners of the account and not someone who could put you at risk posing as a safe contact.

Instant Messaging (IMing) and Online Games

If you use instant messinging (IM) programs such as Yahoo, Windows Live (MSN), ICQ or Skype or if you play online games that contain a social aspect such as Second Life, IMVU, or World of Warcraft then remember to be safe when speaking with someone before verifying their true identity. Someone who could increase your risk could create an account and pose as a stranger or a safe contact and attempt to add or contact you. Make sure that you somehow verify the identity of the contact, whether this is by establishing a safe word with the contact or by asking them a question that only they would know the answer to. If the person is a stranger then make sure to avoid giving them any personally identifiable or sensitive information that could increase your risk.

E-mail

If you communicate using E-mail such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or other e-mail providers then remember to delete any messages that contain sensitive information or information that could put you at risk after you’ve viewed them. Make sure that you check your junk, draft and sent folders for any messages that may put you at risk as well since some e-mail providers may mistakenly filter messages from agencies and resources into your junk folder. Also avoid opening any e-mails from unknown senders or with suspicious titles. These may contain viruses or remote monitoring programs. If you believe you’ve mistakenly downloaded a program that is monitoring your computer usage then visit our “When using the computer” guide above to learn how to remove it and secure your computer.

Internet History, Private Browsing

Your History and Private Browsing

When using the internet your Web Browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) will keep records of the websites that you visit. These records are called the “History”. If someone finding these records could put you at risk then it is advised that you erase them using the guide below. Your web browser also most likely features an option to browse the internet privately for the remainder of the session. The guide below includes details on how to use this feature as well. Remember to open a private browsing session each time you visit websites that contain sensitive information or information that could put you at risk in the future.

Clearing Your Internet History and Private Browsing

The following will teach you how to clear your web browser’s history and mask your activities online in the future. Remember that clearing your history will erase all records of your activities online so be careful if this will raise your risk. Be aware that the “Escape” button in our left navigation bar will not clear your history or delete records indicating that you’ve accessed our site, so make sure you follow the guide below to remove these records. Also remember to follow our “When using the computer” guide above to secure your network as your online activities maybe being monitored by another computer on your home network.

How to Clear Your History in Internet Explorer

Click the “Tools” button at the top of the page. If the Tools button is not displayed at the top of your page you may have to press the “Alt” key on your keyboard to reveal it. If this does not work then you may access the tools menu using the keyboard by pressing the “Alt” key and the “T” key simultaneously.

Click on the “Delete browsing history…” option. This will open another window containing more options.

Make sure to check all the boxes in this new window. After you’ve made sure that all boxes are checked you can then click on the “Delete” button labeled with the number 2 in the image above. This will delete all of your web browsers history. Also remember to follow the next guide to open a private browsing session that will hide your records if you plan on accessing other pages on our site.

How to Browse Privately in Internet Explorer

Click the “Tools” button at the top of the page. If the Tools button is not displayed at the top of your page you may have to press the “Alt” key on your keyboard to reveal it. If this does not work then you may access the tools menu using the keyboard by pressing the “Alt” key and the “T” key simultaneously.

Click the “InPrivate Browsing” option. This will open a new Internet Explorer window as indicated by the next image.

The new, private browsing window is pictured above. Close the previous window and continue using the internet in the window that contains the “InPrivate” icon in the address bar. When using this window to access the internet your browser will no longer record your history, keeping your activities private. If you visit another page with sensitive information in a non-private window then you will need to clear your history again using the previous guide.

How to Clear Your History in Firefox

Click the “Tools” button at the top of the page. If this does not work then you may access the tools menu using the keyboard by pressing the “Alt” key and the “T” key simultaneously.

Click the “Clear Recent History…” option near the bottom of the menu. This will open another window as pictured in the next image.

Click on the drop-down menu labeled number 1 in the image and select the “Everything” option. Next, make sure you’ve checked all of the options labeled number 2 in the image. After you’ve made sure that all options are checked press the delete button labeled number 3 in the image. This will delete all of your web browsers history. Also remember to follow the next guide to open a private browsing session that will hide your records if you plan on accessing other pages on our site.

How to Browse Privately in Firefox

Click the “Tools” button at the top of the page. If this does not work then you may access the tools menu using the keyboard by pressing the “Alt” key and the “T” key simultaneously.

Click the “Start Private Browsing” option near the bottom of the menu. This will open another window as pictured in the next image.

Click the “Start Private Browsing” button. If this window does not appear on your computer and you instead get the window below then skip this step and continue with the rest of the guide.

The new, private browsing window is pictured above with the “Private Browsing” label in the title of the current tab. When using this window to access the internet your browser will no longer record your history, keeping your activities private. If you visit another page with sensitive information in a non-private window then you will need to clear your history again using the previous guide.

Call any day, anytime (800) 244-7414. Español (360) 880-0515.

Human Response Network

Contact Us

Phone: (360) 748-6601
Toll Free: (800) 244-7414
Español: (360) 880-0515
Fax: (360) 748-6630
Email: info@hrnlc.org

Location

125 NW Chehalis Ave
P.O. Box 337
Chehalis, WA 98532

Our Core Values

  • Trust
  • Commitment
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  • Compassion

Ensuring the safety and well being of our clients is our number one priority.