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Getting scam-smart: Talking to your kids about digital safety

9 November 2023 | 4 min read
Content warning: This article contains sensitive content relating to child exploitation, which may be triggering for some people. Reader discretion is advised.

So much of our lives are lived online. With scams increasing, how do you empower your kids to navigate the digital landscape?

One of the most important steps you can take is to start the conversation. Find out how much they understand about digital safety and make a commitment to learn together and stay protected online. Being open will help your kids communicate about their online activities.

Here are some questions to ask, and things to do:

What is your digital identity, and your personal information, and why are they important?

Your digital identity is how you prove who you are online. This includes your name, email, phone number, and address, as well as usernames and passwords or PINs, and other verification methods like biometric data (such as face, voice, or fingerprint recognition). You need this identity to access online services and establish trust in virtual interactions.

This is also called personal information, and there are rules for how websites or apps can store this information. But you also need to be careful about how you give it out. If someone gets hold of enough of your personal information, they could impersonate you, open accounts in your name, or get access to your accounts. This is called identity theft.

Learn more about personal information with this Australian Government guide.

Why is it a bad idea to share some things online?

The internet never forgets. Once you upload or share something, you can’t control what happens to it. This applies to personal information and sensitive content. Reinforce the idea that sharing personal details on social media or the internet can expose you to scams and identity theft.

What should we watch out for to avoid scams when we’re online?

Scammers are using text messages, emails, and phone calls as methods of catching people, by impersonating trusted institutions or businesses. Apps and programs may contain viruses that could jeopardise your data, or operating system. If you’re not sure of the source of something, don’t click on it.

What is sexual extortion?

Sexual extortion (or 'sextortion') occurs when victims are coerced by criminals via online platforms to provide explicit images (or images which are altered by criminals) and are then blackmailed for payments. This often occurs on platforms such as social media or online gaming.

Sextortion crimes involving children are on the rise, with the eSafety Commissioner reporting 1,700 cases in the first quarter of 2023. Although this topic is confronting, it's important that you and your family are aware of the warning signs. provides resources and advice for parents, carers and educators and young people to help prevent online child sexual extortion.

What can you do to protect yourself from scams?

Put aside some time to work together on this with your kids. Empower them to manage their own safety as well. Here are some key things to do:

  • Create strong, unique passwords for every online account. You can get a password manager app, which will generate random passwords and call them up as you need them.
  • Set up two-factor authentication on your online accounts, an extra layer of security beyond your username and password. You can set up an authenticator app to generate codes for different accounts. Check out our device security guide here.
  • Regularly review the permissions settings for all apps on your phones and tablets, especially data sharing and location permissions.
  • Keep all your devices’ software updated to ensure the security is up to date, including smart-home devices and home computers.
  • Most recent operating systems come with sufficient antivirus security, but you might consider antivirus software for shared computers.
  • Never provide personal information or images to someone you don't know online.
  • Keep educating yourself – the Australian Government has a comprehensive checklist for online safety.

Things to remember:

  • Bendigo Bank will never call you to ask you to move your money.
  • Bendigo Bank will never request personal information such as a pin or password or ask you to login to online services from an email or SMS text message.
  • Never provide your 6-digit e-banking security code to anyone over the phone or online.
  • Bendigo Bank will never ask you to click on a link in an SMS text message to login to e-banking or request remote access to your PC or device.

For the latest scam alerts and information to keep yourself and your family safe online, visit our scam alerts page.

Any advice provided in this article is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal needs, objectives and financial circumstances. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation. Please read the applicable product disclosure statement(s) on our website before acquiring any product.

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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation and the Traditional Custodians of the land where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as it is their knowledge and experience that holds the key to the success of future generations.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. Any advice provided on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal needs, objectives and financial circumstances. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation. Please read the applicable Disclosure Documents before acquiring any product described on this website. Please also review our Financial Services Guide (FSG) before accessing information on this website. Information on this page can change without notice to you.

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