For almost as long as chatrooms have existed, people have been asking "Are Chat Rooms Safe?" And the answer is: Chatrooms are as safe or dangerous as you allow them to be. If you give out your personal information, download files or meet people, you have compromised your safety. Sometimes nothing comes of it, but those who have been the victim of crime, whether cyber or physical, have almost certainly violated one of these four chat safety rules. Another popular question is, "Are there any chatrooms that are safe for children?" The answer to that question is not as straightforward.
Chatrooms are as safe or dangerous as you allow them to be.
Administrator 321Chat Owner
Don't Give Out Personal Information.
Don't give out your home address, phone number, and full name, but your identity can also be revealed by giving up less obvious pieces of information. Most people have social media accounts that can expose where they live, where they work, and who their family members are. Linking to a post or tweet you commented on can directly back to your account. Googling your email address can lead back to website comments and forum posts that might contain more personal information. Professional scammers often have accounts with identity and background tracking websites that will reveal astonishing amounts of your personal information once they have associated it with you through just a single piece of information like an email address or phone number.
Don't signup for an account or fill out forms provided by chatters
Phishing attempts on your private information are usually seen in your spam email but can also be conducted within a chatroom. Never fill out a form or signup for an account linked to someone in a chat room. The site might look legitimate and branded with all the appropriate images, but the information you enter could be getting sent to someone else. For example, a web page could look like the bank website chase.com, but the URL might be chase.com.secure12345.com, fooling you into thinking it is a subdirectory of the bank when it is in actuality is a subdomain of secure12345.com.
Don't Download Files
I'll keep it simple: Don't download or open files ending in .exe, .zip, or .rar. When you start putting such files on your computer, you open yourself up to viruses, spyware, and ad-ware. Besides, most modern chat sites allow you to view images within the chat room or show the full address of an image which should end in .jpg, .gif, or .png. Beware of people who say they are sending you a folder of images in a .zip
Don't Meet People In-Person
We get it. This might be the sole reason you chose to enter a chat room. But you need to understand that this is how people get assaulted and abducted. Most people who are victims convince themselves that the duration of their online relationship is evidence that the person they are talking to could not harm. Furthermore, people planning on conducting such vile acts are willing to put in the most time and effort to gain your trust.
Don't Give Away Your Money
Some people in every chatroom want to separate you from your money. They generally fall into three categories, Catfishing Scams, eWhoring, and Cam Bots.
Catfishing scams are conducted by people who try to gain your trust in order to steel your information and money, or have you willingly give it to them. There are hundreds of variations on these schemes but two popular ones you should be aware of are:
You are presented an opportunity to get a large sum of money. Sometimes they will wire you money so they can later use your banking information to steal everything in your account.
Someone needs money for internet, travel, or medical expenses. They chat you up over days or weeks and then disappear, only to reappear at a later time with a hardship story.
Webcam / Chat Bots are computer programs that will chat back and forth with you as though they were a real person to get you to register on a "Cam Site." Bots usually don't do well with unique questions that require specifics. They will often repeat the exact phrases over a long enough time. Some bots send you to fictitious sites where they steal your credit card information, while others look to make a hefty commission through your registration on a legitimate cam site.
eWhoringis the promise of pictures, video, or a live stream in exchange for money. These eWhores pretend to be women and even underage children willing to send nude images for cash. The impostor may disappear once the money is sent or send images sourced from adult websites. Some people use pre-recorded video from Cam Sites with actions that can be seamlessly looped in and called upon demand, tricking the viewer into thinking they are watching a live person.
Don't Fear "Hackers"
Just because someone knows how to exploit chat software does not make them a true "hacker." Some people use ready-made scripts they downloaded, while others are told what to copy and paste to achieve the desired effect. One of the most used and overrated intimidation tactics by so-called hackers is getting someone's IP address. If someone has your IP address, they can tell what internet service provider you use and, at best, what town you live in, but usually, it's just the state or city you live in.
Don't Succumb to Blackmail
Once you start down the path of appeasing a blackmailer, you've started a journey that will never end. Your best bet is to report it to moderators or site administrators and ignore the person. 321Chat.Com will check logs to corroborate the story and permanently ban the offending party. You may also wish to notify the police; recently, some high-profile cases of teens prosecuted for blackmailing other teens and adults with digital photos and videos.
Are Chat Rooms Safe For Kids
If you are talking about physical safety and digital security, then the four rules above will keep kids safe. However, when it comes to emotional abuse through cyberbullying or exposure to sexual content, it is not nearly as easy to stop or even guard against. The best option for kids or teens that are not mature enough to handle such situations is to find a chat that requires age-verified parental consent. Such online communities are few and far between, but the removal of anonymity ensures people act appropriately.
321 Chat has volunteer moderators that police the text posted in the public chat (when present). Moderators also ban chatters for breaking the rules, such as excessive bullying, blackmail, and posting personal information and adult content. 321 Chat has worked with Police Departments and Federal Agencies dozens of times to help root out vile predators. But the sheer number of times we have been asked for help by police departments is proof of the inherent dangers of chat. The presence of criminals within our rooms is no different than that of other chat sites. Still, we pride our-self on working as cooperatively as possible with all prosecuting agencies.