Top Tips To Stay Safe Online
If you’re not careful, it can be alarmingly easy for online criminals to steal your personal details and use them to steal your money or launder money in your name. As you can imagine, this can turn your life on its head and the consequences can be far reaching.
And, if you don’t regularly check your credit file or keep on top of your personal finances it could be months, and thousands of pounds later, before you realise there is anything wrong. In fact, you may not know anything until you get a call from creditors demanding payment or you are turned down for credit despite thinking you had a good credit score.
Once your identity has been used in this way and your credit score damaged, it can take years to put things right.
So here are some tips to help avoid becoming a victim and going through the nightmare of identity theft…
Don’t Give Out Your Details
Be careful with your financial information; you wouldn’t give out your name, address, credit card and bank details to a complete stranger out on the street so don’t just punch your details into any old website.
Only ever give out your credit card or bank account details to trusted sources, and never reveal your passwords or pin numbers to ANYONE as genuine banks or traders would never ask for this information.
Never give out any sensitive information to cold callers, just because someone sounds official over the phone, it doesn’t mean that they’re genuine. This goes for cold calls from banks, financial service companies, council or government officials or anyone that might ask for your details.
Don’t leave any important documents or papers, such as passports, bank or credit card statements lying around, always lock them away securely. And if you need to dispose of any old bank statements always make sure they are properly shredded and cannot be pieced back together.
Memorise Passwords And PINs
Always memorize passwords and pin numbers and never write them down and leave them lying around – they can easily fall into the wrong hands. And certainly never tell anyone your password or pin number.
Don’t Trust Suspicious Emails
Never respond to any emails that ask for personal details – and these include official looking emails from banks or other financial service providers, cyber criminals are very advanced with their phishing scams these days. And never click on any links in suspicious emails.
When using a public computer, try not to use any sites that require you to input sensitive information or passwords. If this is unavoidable then make sure you uncheck the ‘save username’ and ‘save password’ boxes so no details are stored on the computer and it’s also a good idea to clear the history when you have finished online.
Never store important data on your computer as hackers can easily access this data by using trojan horses, viruses or worms that will work their way through your computer’s hard drive and steal your data.
Check Your Credit History
Regularly check your credit file and notify the relevant credit referencing agencies of any discrepancies; it may be a genuine error but it could also be an indication of criminal activity in your name.