How to protect yourself from online fraudsters

It recent times we have seen the threat of online fraud become an ever-closer concern. With the growing number of facilities readily available via the World Wide Web, it is not that surprising that the potential to be defrauded is on the rise. In recent months Tesco banking customers, have learnt all too well the effects of cybercrime and just what this can mean. In October of 2016 as many as 40,000 Tesco Banking customers had their online banking details stolen and the end result was that for 9,000 of them, money was taken from their account. Whilst it is true that Tesco dealt with the issue in a prompt and timely manner, the greater problem here is that this was not the first cyber-attack of its kind. Not only were 157,000 TalkTalk customers subject to their personal details being stolen in recent years but in addition the likes of Anonymous and similar cyber crusaders are getting involved with various different internet based attacks also. Whereas the likes of the aforementioned Anonymous may be perceived to use their cyber abilities for the ‘greater good’, the vast number of online fraudsters mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that our details our secure once in the worldwide web.

For many of us we are most likely primarily concerned with the online security of our bank account details and all associated information. Whether this be specifically the security of our online and mobile banking resources or our ability to use our debit and credit cards online without the fear of the details being stolen. Certainly in respect to the Tesco banking customers we mentioned earlier on; it is likely to be the first of these concerns. The truth of the matter is when it comes to online security there are in fact a number of different ways in which we can be targeted by online fraudsters, regardless of whether this is on an individual basis or as a collective of specific consumers. So what options are there for the ‘average’ consumer, simply looking to protect their details the best way possible? Thankfully the answer is in fact quite a few, details of which we will discuss here today.

First and for most it is important to realise that online fraudster are not solely interest in gaining access to your personal bank accounts. In fact, online fraudsters operate in several different ways to commit cyber fraud. In reality there are many instances where only a few key pieces of personal information are required for an online fraudster to run up debt in your name. This means it is really important we are trusting and certain of the sources with whom we provide our personal information. Using verified websites and links to such which are known to be safe are an obvious but important starting point. This means avoiding following email links or ad links and visiting and using websites with which you are not familiar. With this in mind it is also really important to ensure your internet security is kept completely up to date. Often consumers will allow their internet security to slide given the continued cost involved. However, it is vital to remember that fraud related costs can be far greater and much more stressful to deal with. Therefore, ensuring your internet enabled devices are security protected and the corresponding programmes up to date, it is absolute must to protect yourself against fraudsters. This applies to all internet enabled devices including your Smart phone.

With the best of intentions sometimes having the most up to date security and avoiding spam emails is not going to be enough to protect you from online fraud. There are however several additional steps you can consider and take also. A great idea would be banking with one of the known safer and securer banks. Several of the major UK banks such as Barclays, are known for their increased security thanks to the use of their Pinsentry device. The Pinsentry requires several layers of security to be passed before not only online banking can be accessed but also further security measures for the transfer of money and payment of bills to accounts outside of your bank. Another very important consideration is that of your online banking password and any other password which then leads to access of your personal data. This means potentially ensuring your social media accounts are set to private and that you do not give away information for marketing purposes wherever possible. When it comes to your passwords, this is probably one of the most crucial steps you can take in protecting yourself against online fraudsters. This means making them complex, varied, made up of a mixture of numbers and characters and not personal; all of which making them much more difficult to crack. 

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Author: Internal Marketing Department




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