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What Help is Available?

Computer Safety

Computers can be great resources, but they also store information that can give clues about your Internet and other online activities. It is impossible to clear all of this information.

If you are in immediate danger please call 911. If you are afraid that your computer activities may be monitored, please use a safer computer and call your local hotline or the NYS Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906, English & español/Multi-language Accessibility. Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711.

Safer computers can be found at:

A note about using computers at public places - remember to protect your personal information, including your password(s) while using public computers.

How to Help Protect Your Privacy Online

Please note that the information on this page is meant to provide general guidance and awareness, as computer technologies are regularly evolving.

  • E-mail - Emails are not confidential; they can be traced even after you have deleted them. Instead, call a hotline and ask for assistance in figuring out next steps. If you still decide to use email, doing the following things can help you protect your privacy:
    • When setting up your email account:
      • Do not check off the box "Remember my Username" or "Remember my password."
      • Avoid including information that could identify you in your email address, such as your name.
      • Use a password that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess, as anyone who guesses your password will have access to your private correspondence.
      • Do not share your password with anyone. If you ever do, change it.
      • In email correspondence, avoid including information that your partner/former partner may be able to use against you.
      • After deleting messages from your sent box or inbox, empty the "trash can" or "deleted items". However, be aware that after taking these steps, messages can be recovered from your email service provider.
  • Internet browsing - It is impossible to erase all of the information left inside your computer from your internet activities. Someone with physical or remote access to your computer could find out where you have been on the Internet and what you have done. If you are afraid that someone is monitoring your computer activities, please use a safer computer.
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+; chat rooms; mailing lists; bulletin boards and newsgroups - Some ways to help protect your privacy and be safer include:
    • Not trusting anyone with your personal information, because it is impossible to know whether your partner, or someone known to your partner is also participating.
    • When setting up your login name/username, avoid using information that could identify you, such as your name or your email address if it has your name on it.

References and Additional resources: