Protect Yourself

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Basic Computer Safety

Abusers who have basic computer knowledge may be able to track the Web sites that you visit and the documents that you open on the computer. You can erase your internet history so that nobody who uses your computer can see what Web pages you visit.

Warning! Even if you follow the directions below your abuser may still be able to see what web sites you have been visiting or what emails you have been sending.

The safest way to keep the abuser from tracking your online activities is to use a computer that he or she does not have access to. This could be at a public library, a friend’s house, or at work. If you are sending an e-mail message asking for help, make sure you use an email account with a password that the abuser does not know.

If you must use a computer your abuser can access, you can attempt to cover your tracks by doing the following:

  • Use an email account your abuser cannot access: If an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you select a password he or she will not be able to guess.
  • Do not store passwords and change your password or passwords often. Do not use obvious passwords, such as your birthday or your pet’s name. Use passwords that include both letters and numbers.
  • Delete e-mails and files/documents. Delete e-mails from the “Send” or “Outbox” and then also delete e-mails from the “Deleted Items” box. In addition, empty the “Recycle” or “Trash Bin” of any documents before shutting down the computer. Make this a regular routine so it is not an unusual action that may trigger suspicion.
  • Clear cookies, temporary Website files and browser history. Cookies are information that a Website leaves on your hard drive about your visit to that Website. A temporary Website file is left on your computer each time you visit a Website. One of its pages, usually the home page, is stored “temporarily” on your hard drive. Usually Internet browser software retains a list, or History, of all the Websites you visit. Below are instructions to clearing these three things you’re your computer. Refer to your software “Help” menu or technical support for further information.
  • Clear the Search Engine. Many search engines retain and display past searches. Check whichever search engine you use for information on how to turn this feature off.
  • Clearing Cookies and Temporary Files

    You may want to make it a habit to clear History whenever you visit any Website, rather than making it an unusual action only when you visit a partner abuse Website. By clearing your History you will not harm your computer in any way. However, should your abuser click on History, he/she may realize that you or someone has deleted the history records. If this happens, and you are the only other person using that computer, a good reason to give for your actions (if necessary) would be that you heard or read that by deleting these temporary history files your computer would be faster and waste less disk space, which is true.

    For complete instructions organized by web browser, visit this helpful resource.

  • How to clear Browser History

    Browser software usually keeps a chronological history of all Web pages that you visit while online. For your safety, you may want to delete the record of Web pages you have visited. It is a very simple process that will not in any way affect your computer other than to erase the fact that you have visited certain pages.

    Full Instructions