Protect your personal data - how to keep one step ahead of scams and online fraud
Personal data has become a valuable commodity. The value of fraud committed in the UK topped £1bn last year, so how do you keep your personal information safe? Here are some top tips…
1. Know how to spot a phishing scam
Phishing scams are fake communications that try to trick you into responding. One click to a fake website could lead to fraudsters collecting your personal data so it can be used for things like identity theft and malicious bank transfers. Look out for emails, text messages or any other digital notifications requesting any sort of personal information. The websites used to "harvest" your data may seem genuine but are often copies of the real thing - look carefully at the email addresses used and for the https padlock symbol against the web address in your browser bar. Be aware that hackers also use social engineering techniques to impersonate an individual, company or government department to trick you into revealing information.
2. Change your passwords regularly
Use a mixture of numbers and letters and avoid using the same password on multiple websites, otherwise you risk exposing all your accounts in one go. A simple method to create a complex password is a line from a favourite song.
If you suspect the worst might have happened, you can check for news about the latest hacks, cyber attacks and data breaches with websites like https://haveibeenpwned.com/.
3. Update your software
Keep security tight by regularly updating your computer and apps, and ensure your antivirus software is always up to date by setting it to "auto update".
4. Make back-ups
From music to films and photos, make a back-up of all your digital assets, preferably in the cloud, so you can retrieve them in the event of a theft of your device.
5. Use official sites only
Don’t trust that a message you have received from WhatsApp requesting you to download a new service or provide information is definitely from WhatsApp. Check that download requests are legitimate and only update from official sites.
6. Use credit cards for deposits or pay over the telephone if you are unsure
Regulations entitle credit card fraud victims to a refund, so play it safe by using a credit card instead of your debit card online. For additional security, consider paying by phone and avoid the risk of hackers stealing your details via a cyber attack.
Whether we’re talking about your personal data online or your personal belongings in the material world, it pays to take security precautions – particularly if you have dependents. Discover how our family legal protection insurance can help should an unexpected crisis, such as identity theft, occur.