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Your safety and privacy is extremely important to us. Because ARCh uses the Internet, there are some potential safety issues you should be aware of. We want you to have as much information as possible so that you can make informed choices about how safe chatting with us is for you.
Things to know
It is important to understand that nothing on the Internet is 100% secure. Phones, tablets, computers, Internet history, and online accounts can be vulnerable to hacking and other security breaches. However, there are things we can do to reduce the risk that our information will be compromised: Click to read about tech safety at the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Warning signs of cyberstalking
This is not an exhaustive list, and just because one of these things is happening, it may not mean you are being cyber-stalked. However, if you suspect you may be experiencing cyber-stalking, take measures to be safe while reaching out for help.
- The person seems to know about conversations they were not involved in.
- The person seems to know where you are or what you are up to, even if you did not tell them.
- The person has access to your accounts and devices, or you have shared accounts and devices.
- You see new activity, new programs, or other changes on your accounts or devices that you did not authorize.
- Others tell you they received messages from you that you did not send, or calls from you that you did not make.
- Your device or account is acting strangely, including making strange noises and draining battery quickly.
How to reach out safely online
We trust you to know when it is safe for you to use ARCh. We encourage you to use the following precautions when reaching out online:
- Use a device that only you have access to.
- Use secure passwords for all your devices and accounts, and do not re-use passwords.
- Use the LEAVE WEBSITE NOW button if needed. It will redirect you to Google.com.
If you think someone you don’t trust may have access to your devices or accounts:
- Use a friend’s computer, or a library or other public computer.
- Use a secret burner phone that only you and your support network know about. Keep using your old phone to avoid suspicion.
- Set up a secret e-mail account that only you and your support network know about. Keep using your old account to avoid suspicion.
- Delete the browser history and cookies after using a shared or compromised device. Remember: This does not completely erase all record of your activity.
Ways we protect your privacy
- All ARCh staff are confidential advocates, meaning that your story will never leave our office.
- The chat software we use (LivePerson) is HIPAA-compliant and uses a number of strong physical and digital security measures to protect our data.
- We regularly purge our data to ensure that in the event of a breach, information is less likely to be compromised.
If you find that chatting with us poses too much of a risk for you right now, there are many other ways you can reach out and get support. Please see our Resources section for other organizations you can contact, as well as great websites and blogs that offer support, community, and information.