Playing online games is one of the best ways to keep entertained while travelling. However, it’s important to consider online safety before immersing yourself in the world of online gaming. These 7 tips to stay safe online will help keep you protected from ill-intentioned people while you are having fun online.
7 Online Gaming Safety Tips
If you’re travelling long distances, whether for work or holiday, it’s a good idea to find something to keep yourself entertained. One of the best ways to kill time on your journey is playing online games, but unfortunately not all sites offer complete online gaming safety. Luckily, finding safe online games doesn’t need to be a daunting task—you just need to know what to look for. To protect you from opportunistic cyber-criminals, we’ve put together a list of tips for staying safe online.
1. How long has the site been around?
Unfortunately, the question of how to stay safe online does not have a simple answer. To be able to identify safe online games, you need to do some research. We suggest starting off by finding out how long the gaming site has been around.
A site that has been operating for a longer period of time is more likely to have been scrutinised by regulating authorities, security companies and, of course, paying customers. If a site has been able to survive this, it’s usually a good sign.
Though this is not a sure indication of how trustworthy a site is, a longer track record of customer service is generally a good starting point for getting a bigger picture of the service provider’s level of online gaming safety.
2. Read reviews
One of the Internet’s virtues is the vast range of information available—so use it to your advantage. If there’s something out there that people either enjoy or despise, they will talk about it. So, what better place to find online gaming safety tips and information on safe online games than from people with first-hand experience?
When it comes to reviews, though, it’s important to be careful. Many website owners get paid to write good reviews, so if you find a site with only positive comments, it should raise red flags. Find out which sites offer objective reviews, then see if there are people with legitimate complaints. As with anything, people are bound to complain. You may find aggrieved individuals who didn’t read the gaming site’s terms and conditions beforehand and ended up feeling cheated, which is normal. But if there are people complaining about legitimate issues, like delayed payments or unexplained charges, it’s perhaps best to steer clear.
3. Are they licensed?
Nothing ever stays the same in the world of online gaming. New online casinos and games are constantly being launched, and not all of their publishers or operators have good intentions. One of the most obvious things to look for is a license from a reputable jurisdiction or company. Although it’s not a given that all licensed sites will guarantee your online safety, having a license from a reputable institution is a good indication that the operators strive to put the needs of the customer first.
Generally speaking, there are three types of online gaming licenses:
Online gaming sites have to adhere to the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction in which they operate. However, different jurisdictions have different laws and different leniencies in enforcing these laws. While some regions have strict guidelines, others are happy to receive an annual payment and look the other way, which doesn’t really make for great online safety. It may be well worth researching the quality of the jurisdiction in which the site operates.
Licenses from security companies
There are many regulatory bodies that check gaming sites for criminal activities. These watchdogs make sure players are protected from illegal operations. If a gaming site has a license from a security company, it’s a clue that the site could offer safe online games.
Licenses from software testing companies and industry regulators
The software behind gaming sites plays a big role in online gaming safety. software testing companies are generally independent organisations that make sure the gaming software is operating fairly without glitches or weaknesses.
Health Games, for example, is a socially responsible gaming operator, licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and UK Gambling Commission. This means that when you sign up, you can be 100% sure that your information is protected.
4. Beware of delayed payments
In online games like casinos, sports betting or poker rooms where real money is at stake, delayed payments from the service provider is usually a dead giveaway that they are experiencing financial problems. In cases like this, it’s perhaps best to get your money out before the ship sinks. After all, there are plenty of other gaming sites to go to.
5. Take advantage of a free trial
When you come across a gaming site that you’d like to try out, before you commit to making your first payment, it may be a good idea to test out the site by playing a couple of free games first. This way you will be able to get a feel for how the software platform works. You may also want to test out their level of support by asking some questions on a live chat service or even by phoning them if they have a support number. This will give you some indication of their level of commitment to customer support.
6. Remain anonymous
Many online games – whether chess, cards or first-person shooting games – allow players to communicate via integrated chat, a microphone or headset. The danger in this feature is inadvertently revealing sensitive information, such as account logins, address, age, etc., which can easily be exploited by scammers and predators. Another factor that can put your online gaming safety at risk, is your profile. It’s advisable to choose a username that does not reveal any personal information and make sure you don’t reveal any sensitive information in your profile.
7. Get-clued up before you download
Sometimes, something that is free does in fact, come at a price. These so-called freebies, which could include anything from free web or app-based games that require payment to access the full content, unlicensed versions of games, or ‘cheats’ that help players illegally get to the next level, often contain malicious viruses or spyware. Be very wary what you download, as this could not only threaten your online safety but could even lead to being legally pursued. Always verify the authenticity of the files you wish to download, only buy from reputable sources and never play online games without updated antivirus or antispyware software and firewall running.
These 7 tips are a good starting point to knowing how to stay safe online. But, as with anything else in life, nothing is ever guaranteed, so perhaps the best advice would be to rather be too safe than sorry.