Etsy would like our community to be safe, both online and offline. When using the Internet we should all take precautions to ensure our safety and privacy. Here are a few safety guidelines to keep in mind when using Etsy and the Internet in general:
Personal Information: Take care when posting personal information about yourself or someone else on the Internet — including the public places on Etsy. Public spaces include your Etsy shop, the forum, Online Labs, and comments to blog articles. In many cases the information you post is permanent. Please do not post any personal information that you do not want the world to know (for example, your phone number, credit card number, and passwords). Before posting private information about someone else, make sure you have appropriate permission.
Specific Location Information: Avoid posting information that would make it easy for a stranger to find where you live or work.
Embarrassing Information: Opening up to the Etsy community can give you a sense of closeness. It’s just plain fun. However, avoid posting anything that would embarrass you later. Remember, the forum is not your diary. If you do not want your mom, boss, friend, or child to learn about certain information or see a photo, do not post it on Etsy or link to it in a public area.
Real Life: It is fun to connect with people on Etsy, but be wary about meeting someone in person whom you do not know. Use common sense and good judgment because unfortunately, people aren’t always who they say they are. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult. Also, it’s a good idea to bring a mobile phone if you have one.
Abusive Behavior: Please treat each other with respect. Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone’s behavior is inappropriate, contact Etsy. Always trust your gut: immediately stop corresponding with someone if you feel threatened. If you feel unsafe, contact your local authorities.
Email and Your Computer: There are a number of ways to protect information on your computer. For example, a spam filter might reduce the number of unwanted emails (but check it, just in case an Etsy email gets stuck in there). Anti-virus software can be used to scan incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software looks for programs that have been installed on your computer to track your online activities. Firewalls can prevent unauthorized communications from entering your computer. If you don’t recognize the sender of a downloadable document or file, delete the file without opening it to avoid getting a virus.
Passwords: Choose a password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using obvious words, for example your last name or nickname, or dates like your birthday. Never share or email your password to anyone. Avoid using the same password on many websites, this way if someone discovers one password that person won’t have access to all your online accounts.
Internet Fraud: From phony lotteries and bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud and phishing, there are many Internet scams. Sometimes it’s hard to determine when an opportunity is legitimate. On Etsy, ask questions concerning consignment opportunities, requests for free samples, and solicitations for craft fairs. Be wary of requests to take transactions off Etsy. Do your homework and ask for references, full names, and contact information. Keep your personal information, password and credit card information secure and never send this information via email.
Remember, the public spaces on Etsy are indexed and searchable by major search engines.
We at Etsy love our community and hope you will take these tips into consideration in order to stay safe online. Please share any additional Internet safety tips in the comments below.
Sarah Feingold is Etsy's in-house attorney. She is also a jeweler with an extreme sweet tooth.