To protect yourself online requires a realisation of the possibilities.
Firstly, unless you have coffee with this person you correspond with, you don’t know who they are. They might claim to be this pretty girl of 21 but are really an ugly guy of 67. You don’t know. So don’t trust.
Secondly, never use your real name. Never use your real address and create an email account in a nick name, that you use specifically for online sites; .
For example, suppose you are Joan Burton of 1443 New York Avenue, Brooklyn and are 43 years old.
Well at your office you can be JoanBurton@gmail.com. But on a site like Facebook, create a nick; i.e. Denroi.
A name like Denroi does not reveal Joan’s Sex, country of origin, race; anything. Denroi could be a nineteen year of Nigerian in Lagos, 74 year old woman in Bulgaria. Denroi@protonmail.com is rather difficult to pin down.
When ‘Denroi’ creates an account on Facebook; First Name Den Last Name Roil. And when it comes to address, well, it depends; if Denroi uses a proxy in Germany, then a German address… Berlin is good enough. If Denroi uses a proxy in Florida, that’s enough information.
You can admit your age, but not your sex. Use an image not of you, not of a person. A flower, a cat, a car.
When people try to ‘pull your tongue’ and ask questions about you, lie, divert, because no one should be asking questions if you are on a site discussing a television program, political event.
Everything you read, check out. Don’t accept anything as ‘true’ until you check it out. If there is an article about a Snake found in a classroom, do a Google and see what you get… and not a blog.
You have two malware programs which are supposed to be running in the background. Every few days, run them in the foreground. One today, the other tomorrow.
Do disk cleanups, defrags every day before you log off.
Use the Dark Web for any banking or other monetary transactions as well as any searches which could be ‘ify’.
Use different browsers, not the ‘name brands’. You can use Vivaldi or Opera or Safari. Juggle them so that you don’t always log in with the same one.This makes it harder for someone to track you.
Disconnect from the Internet before you go to bed.
And be conscious.