Online fraud can happen to anyone and therefore we all need to know to avoid and prevent it from happening to us. Hackers are everywhere and it is easier to commit fraud now than ever thanks to the mass usage of the internet in the digital age. Although online fraud comes in many forms, are some simple steps that in general can keep you safe from cyber-crime and even traditional fraud.
Protect Your Password
You should aim to use a different password for each separate online account. The most secure passwords tend to be a minimum of 8 characters and contain a combination of letters, symbols and numbers.
Do Not Release Personal Information
To protect yourself from online fraud, make sure you are not giving personal details out to an organisation or people before verifying their credentials. Even when applying for guarantor loans, you need to check that the lender or company you are giving your details too is legitimate. This can be checked by confirming their FCA registration number or looking at genuine reviews. The type of details you need to be vary of include: Full name, or any part of your name or initials
- Email address
- Phone number
- Bank Details (!!)
You can check to see if a site is secure if it has a ‘Secure’ icon with a picture of a lock in the left-hand corner of the search bar on your browser.
Beware of Phishing Emails
The place that many fraudsters start from is a phishing email. If you are not aware, a phishing email, message, website or phone call is designed to trick people into handing over money – essentially, it is stealing. The way cybercriminals achieve this is by installing malicious software onto your computer, by getting you to give personal information with false pretences or by stealing personal information from your computer directly.
It is important to know that banks and financial institutions will never send you an email with a link which they are asking you to click to confirm your bank details. If you receive an email asking you to do so, do not trust it and delete it. It is crazy how genuine these emails can look, but if you know never to click such a link, you will be protected. You can contact your bank if you are unsure, but never via the email.
Make sure that any computers you that you own have an up-to-date anti-virus software installed, as well as a firewall installed. Furthermore, you should ensure that your browser is set to the highest-level security notification and monitoring in order to prevent malware issues or computer crime via the web.
Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code
To further protect yourself from online fraud, you should get yourself signed-up to verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever and wherever you are given the option whilst you are making purchases online. All this involves is registering a password with your card company. It will just add an additional layer of security when you make online transactions with signed-up retailers.
Check your credit file
It is advisable to regularly get a copy of your credit file to check it for any suspicious or unrecognised entries. You can check your credit file via any of these providers: Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, ClearScore and Noddle.
You can also can an identity protection service such as ProtectMyID which monitors your Experian credit report and will alert you via email or text message should it flag up any fraudulent activity. If it does turn out to be fraud, there will be a dedicated caseworker who will help you resolve the problem.
Be Aware of Fraud Recovery Fraud
If you have previously been the victim of fraud, be aware of something known as fraud recovery fraud. Basically, this is when fraudsters will approach you pretending to be a lawyer or the police and telling you that they can help you recover the money you lost to the initial fraud.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately along with any other institutions which you do business with so that they can take the appropriate action with all your accounts. You should also call the police – they will help you to locate the people responsible for the crime to the best of their ability. The police will also file a report which states the crime and can then be used for any insurance claims which you may wish you file.