For the top 5 Cyber Threats to look out for, visit GetSafeOnline.
If you fall victim to fraud, including online fraud, report the incident to Action Fraud which will help police catch the criminals. Visit actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 to log your case.
The Get Safe Online organisation provides sound advice for being safe online. Below are tips to avoid being conned online and also how to protect your connected devices. For more tips visit: https://www.getsafeonline.org/.
Tips to Avoid Being Conned Online
SHOP SHOP SHOP
If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality or doesn’t even exist. Always check payment pages are secure, and log out when you’ve finished shopping online.
AUCTION BARGAIN… OR NOT?
When making a purchase from an auction website, use insured payment methods like PayPal and never do a bank transfer to people you don’t know. Do all you can to check the seller or buyer are authentic. And look out for fake goods: they’re illegal and cost livelihoods.
JUST THE TICKET
Buying gig or event tickets as a gift, or for yourself? To avoid fraud, buy only from official sources, and never pay by direct transfer.
COME FLY AWAY…
Whether you’re planning a break now or next year, make sure the holiday or flight is genuine by researching it thoroughly, and check travel agents for an ABTA/ATOL number.
Scam emails, calls, texts and posts are getting cleverer and you’re bound to get some eg over Christmas. Think twice before you get talked into anything, however busy you are.
YOUR PASSWORD IS YOURS. KEEP IT THAT WAY!
Passwords that are easy to guess, that you use for more than one account or that you share with others, are a no-no!
Secure wi-fi is vital for your privacy. At home, check your router security settings. Out and about, never use free wi-fi hotspots when what you’re doing is private.
GREAT OFFER, OR SUBSCRIPTION TRAP?
Don’t sign up for ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trial goods without thoroughly reading the small print. You could be signing up for massive direct debits.
Don’t open attachments or click on links in greeting (or any other) emails you’re not expecting, as they could be scams. And be careful with ecards as they can be fraudulent too.
AVOID THOSE NASTY VIRUSES
And we don’t mean coughs and colds! Always have internet security (antivirus) software and apps switched on and updated (including those new phone and tablet gifts).
Top Tips for Protecting Your Devices
The tips below from the Get Safe Online website will help you protect your computer, smartphone and tablet from not only malware and unauthorised access, but from physical loss and damage too.
♦ Always have internet security software loaded, switched on and kept updated on your computer. Download security apps on all your mobile devices too, including Apple devices.
♦ Update software and apps when prompted, including operating systems. These often contain security updates.
♦ Clicking on email attachments or links in emails and social media posts could infect your devices with various types of malware, including ransomware and spyware. Think before you click.
♦ Keep your phone protected when out and about in crowded areas. Mobiles make attractive targets for pickpockets and ride-by thieves.
♦ Giving a caller remote access to your devices could compromise or even disable them. Only an authorised support person who you have contacted with a problem, should be allowed to gain access.
♦ Always protect computers and mobile devices with a PIN or password, even if they come with biometric protection.
♦ Keep computers (desktops and laptops) and mobile devices secure and out of harm’s way in the home and office. This includes not dropping your phone down the toilet! The information on them is normally worth a lot more to the criminal than the second-hand hardware cost.
♦ Some data and photos are irreplaceable. Back up all your devices regularly in case they become usable or get lost or stolen.
♦ Never leave laptops or mobile devices unattended, in vehicles, cafés, the gym or anywhere else. Not only could they be stolen but other people could check out your work or Facebook too. In hotels, use the safe when possible.
♦ Other connected wearable and household devices such as smart watches, televisions, CCTV cameras and even bathroom scales can also be compromised by hackers. When setting these up, always set a new password or PIN (where applicable) to avoid this happening.