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Pitfalls abound on the Net

Nov. 11, 1998

Internet use among students has grown in recent years, partly because of its ready availability and ease of use. But fraud and invasions of privacy run rampant online as well.

Many eager college students can, fall victim--and some have--to potential online pitfalls, including fraudulent magazine subscriptions, credit card fraud and even a fake university offering degrees in less than a month.

Many of these scams ask for personal information, which shouldn't be freely given. But Internet users can avoid these high-tech troubles by taking fewer risks.

As part of its Safety 'Net program, Southwestern Bell is offering a free brochure to students to show the hazards of the Internet and how to avoid them, which students can receive by contacting Southwestern Bell Internet Services.

We strongly urge students to be careful when using the Internet and to log off when asked to disclose information they feel uncomfortable giving.

Common tips to be aware of when on the information superhighway:

*Be careful when giving out personal information such as your name or phone number.

*Use discretion and caution when giving out financial information such as a credit card number or bank account.

*Be wary of 'spam,' unsolicited e-mail often used by con artists.

*Be careful when downloading files, as some may contain computer viruses.

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