There were two million “computer misuse” offences linked to fraud last year and online fraud as a whole, rose 8%,. according to a national crime survey. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary told the BBC that the level of fraud was now probably of epidemic proportions. He commented that the police were working hard simply to try and keep up with the crimes they knew about. He was clearly implying that there’s an awful lot of cyber fraud that doesn’t even get reported.
Cybercrime is rising so rapidly, that most people know someone who has been affected by it in some way. So keep yourself safe, by following these ten tips to defeat the online fraudsters.
1.Change your passwords as often as you can
Some people use the same password for every web site they visit. This really is risky. If someone discovers your password, they also have access to your personal accounts and identity details. Passwords are often stolen en masse in an online fraud and then sold on – if you’re changing your password frequently, it will probably have changed by the time someone tries to access your account.
2. Don’t write down passwords and PINs
If you write your passwords down, the person who burgles your house will be very grateful to you for saving them so much time, particularly if they’ve just also stolen your wallet.
PINs are usually short, so it’s definitely a case of memorising them. For passwords, if you must write them down, it can help to use a personal code. “Fluffyfavourite!” might mean your pet’s favourite snack, followed by an exclamation mark. Only you know – a thief won’t.
3. Housekeeping matters
Don’t leave bills with personal details in your bag, in case you lose it. It’s all too easy for someone to phone up claiming to be you and reporting a lost card (which they then intercept).
4. Check your bank statements
Go through your statements, checking for payee names you don’t recognise, amounts that aren’t familiar or withdrawals you don’t remember making. It’s the quickest way to spot activities that point to online scamming. Ask your bank or loan provider about online fraud protection, too.
5. Bank discreetly
Try to avoid internet cafes or busy areas where someone might look over your shoulder, when you are using your bank account. Banking is best done at home, and cautious people open up a new browser session, do their banking and then close the session rather than leaving it open.
6. Don’t leave a shred of doubt
A shredder gives you the certainty that no one has your bank or credit card statement, Amazon order details, holiday dates or any other information you wouldn’t want them to have. Fraudsters can cross-reference different pieces of information and use them to set up bogus identities and online accounts.
7. Don’t let fraudsters intercept your mail
The communal hallways of flats are notorious for piles of discarded mail belonging to previous tenants. Even if you live in a house, make sure that you don’t leave this kind of treasure trove for fraudsters. Get your post redirected for at least 3 months after you move.
8. Fraudsters “Like” your postings very much
Birthday photos tell strangers what day your birthday is. If you’re celebrating a special birthday, say a 30th, then they can work out your date of birth. This is a key piece of information for online fraud activities. So adjust your privacy settings – they’re one of the most under used methods of online fraud protection.
9. Beware “phishing” emails
Don’t follow links in emails, to any site that looks like your bank account. Close the browser session, and call your bank to confirm whether they have contacted you.
10. Look for the padlock and the green type
If you look at the web address, secure sites have a padlock, the word “Secure”, and a green https:// before the address. This is a quick way to check the security of a site.
First Quality Loans is a trading name of First Quality Finance which is Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - Firm registration number 758281
Authorisation can be checked on the Financial Service Register at www.fca.org.uk. Licenced by the Information Commissioners Office, (ZA200642)