As technology grows, so does the cyber crime. Every 15 seconds someone in the UK is scammed out of their money online. Financial Fraud Action UK said there was a 53% increase compared to the year before! More of us are using our credit and debit cards online and divulging our bank details, making it easier for scammers to target people.
Our 3 quick steps to keep your money safe
- Listen to your gut: If it seems dodgy it probably is.
- Never assume an email or caller is genuine. Always ask for credentials and why they’re calling.
- Don’t tell anyone your PIN or any passwords
How to create the perfect password
It just isn’t enough anymore to create a password consisting of a regular word and a few random numbers. Hackers have the technology to break into anything including email, social media accounts and online banking. Never use obvious words such as your mother’s maiden name, children’s names, partner’s names and so on, as these are easier than you think to find online. Just follow these simple steps to create a watertight password:
- Start with two random words that aren’t related to your life at all. E.g. Bonkers and pyjamas
- Choose a six digit number that you’re most likely to remember (but not anyone’s date of birth). E.g. 823183
- Choose a series of symbols to use. E.g. ?!_!$$!!!
- Take the two words and insert the numbers between the letters, then use your series of symbols at the end. So your password will end up as:
According to Better Buys the time taken to crack this password would be ‘infiniti.’ Test your password here!
Make sure you change your passwords regularly and try to have a different one for each of your accounts (i.e. email, social, bank, shopping.) It may be tricky to remember them at first but it will be so worth it in the long-run!
Social media and safety
Make sure all your social media accounts are set to private – and don’t add anyone you don’t know onto your Facebook page. It’s here that hackers are most likely to find vital information such as the name of your pet, place of birth, date of birth and so on. A lot of things on your social media pages can give a clue as to what your memorable word is for your security questions. Cyber criminals can use to hack into your accounts and syphon off your money / use your credit cards.
Anyone can be scammed via email – it doesn’t matter how intelligent you are! Don’t click on a email from a sender you’ve never heard of. And, even more importantly, don’t ever click on any attachments as they may contain viruses. If you do click on an unknown attachment, the scammer will have access to your password and all your emails. They will then send automated emails to everyone you’ve ever interacted with by email – this passes on the virus if the recipients click it. If this happens to you, change your password immediately. There’s also ‘spear phishing’ which 56% fell for last year. This is where the fraudster sends an email apparently from someone senior from your bank or credit card company. If you click on any links in the email it’ll take you to a fraudulent site. If you input your details it will capture them and install malware on your device or use your password to gain access to your accounts.
Remote access scams
You’ve probably come across this type of scam before! It will appear as a pop-up that resembles a Windows or mac dialogue box on your browser. Usually they claim that your computer is to be upgraded, fixed or protected. If you call the number they provide, you’ll be put through to a scammer claiming to work for an IT company. They will ask to access your computer remotely claiming they want to fix the pretend problem. If you do give them access they’ll release malware and viruses on your computer and gain access to all your secure information.
Protect yourself with anti-virus software
It’s worth downloading some high quality anti-virus software so it can scan attachments before you download them, check out websites before you visit them and get rid of any existing malware on your computer. Make sure you also have anti-virus protection on your smartphone. Some apps may be disguised as viruses, but anti-virus programs can block them from downloading onto your phone and stealing your data.
Protecting your phone
With so many people owning smartphones, it makes it even more easier for hackers to break in and steal vital information. Some of our top tips for keeping your money and details safe from hackers on your smartphone include:
- Disable Siri / Cortana / Google Now from leaking data when your phone is locked.
- Turn off notifications that appear on your lock screen
- Never use AutoFill for personal data.
- Use fingerprint security if possible
- If you have an iPhone, make sure you use a longer passphrase rather than the ‘Simple Passcode.’