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Ten tips to help avoid phishing and identity theft

Nov 05, 2015

Criminal gangs are becoming more inventive with ways of trying to get their hands on other people’s money. If you are worried about your online security, here are ten top tips to help keep your details safer.

  1. Make sure your computer or laptop is protected with security and anti-virus software. It’s important to keep this software updated.
  2. If you have to set up a password, make sure it is a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, and that is different from your other passwords. There are programmes to help generate and store your passwords if you are struggling to remember them all.
  3. Never disclose personal details, such as your password or email over the phone - unless it is one you have agreed with your bank specifically for telephone banking.
  4. If you receive a call, or email, from your bank or building society that you weren't expecting and that asks you for personal details, treat it with suspicion - don’t follow any links which ask you to fill in personal data fields, especially passwords and pin numbers.
  5. Before entering your card or account details into any website, make sure there is a padlock symbol in your browser at the top and that the web address changes from 'http' to 'https' – these mean that your connection is secure.
  6.  If you have a wireless network at home, make sure you have activated all the security settings (e.g. password protected) on your wireless router to make it secure and prevent others accessing it.
  7. Avoid accessing your bank account or entering card details from any public computer or unsecured wireless network. If you do have to use a public computer, don’t leave it unattended when you are logged in and always log out correctly when you've finished your session.
  8.  If you experience any problems logging on to your internet banking, or paying with your card, contact your bank as soon as possible.
  9. Avoid posting any personal information such as your date of birth, phone number or email address  on social network websites such as Twitter or Facebook.  This helps reduce the risk of identity theft. Only accept friend requests from people you know as a stranger could be an identity thief. Check your privacy settings on social media sites too and make sure only people you trust can view your posts and profile.
  10. Make sure you regularly check your account balance and statements for suspicious transactions. If you spot anything unfamiliar, report it to your bank or card provider as soon as possible.