We’re often told what we should and shouldn’t be doing, but when it comes to keeping our personal information safe, it’s important to listen up. As the internet evolves and criminals (online and offline) become increasingly cunning, we need to make sure we’re doing the best we can to protect our information.
We’ve pooled together some tips and advice on keeping details secure and out of the hands of the bad guys. Have a read…
A lot of us will be guilty of using the same password for numerous things online, but what if that one, single password was stolen from you? We might think we’re saving ourselves time by only having one password to remember, but by doing so we put ourselves at risk of fraud.
Tip: Come up with 4 or 5 unique passwords containing a combination of numbers, letters and capital letters. Don’t use obvious passwords like surnames or house names, but think of an anagram or acronym for your favourite place or book. For example, if your favourite book was Wind in the Willows, your password could be wiTWillowS54.
Tip: Keep your passwords locked away, and consider changing your passwords for emails and other personal sites every few months.
This is one of the most common portals for online criminals to capture your details. Remember, your bank or PayPal will NEVER ask you to confirm your bank details or password ‘for security reasons’ via an email, and will always address the email with your name. Be very wary of emails which don’t do this, or aren’t addressed from the bank or PayPal themselves. If you received one of these emails from PayPal, don’t reply to it, simply forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any financial documents, passports, national insurance details and anything with your personal details on, need to be locked away – ideally in a safe or security box!
Tip: Avoid carrying around important documents when you’re out of the house. It’s a pain to get things like your passport replaced.
Keep it to yourself
Be cautious of sharing personal information. If you’re asked to provide such details over the phone or online, question why they need it, what they’ll do with it and how they’ll safeguard it. If you have any suspicions, then simply don’t give out the details and check with your provider separately.
Don’t post absolutely everything on social media – criminals scour the internet for clues for passwords, etc. so don’t post addresses, phone numbers, or other details in public forums or on social media.
Don’t get into a habit of throwing personal documents in the bin. Always shred receipts and private documents you no longer need – anything with your personal details on –identity thieves will raid bin bags to get hold of this information!
Be mindful of free Wi-Fi hotspots – your data is only secure when transmitted across encrypted websites. Check the security of the wireless network itself if possible, alternatively, wait until your back home on a secure network.
Lock it down
When filling out forms online or completing purchases, ensure the encryption software on your browsers is active – a lock icon signifies this and your data will be secure when inputted online.
Have you ever fallen victim to online hackers or has your personal information been stolen? Share your experiences in the comments and you might just prevent someone else from making the same mistakes! @TalkWithSafe