Get smart to on­line scams

As we all spend more time on­line – whether that’s work­ing, shop­ping or so­cial­is­ing – we risk fall­ing vic­tim to cy­ber crim­i­nals that are more de­vi­ous than ever. But fear not – we’ve got the ad­vice you need to stay one step ahead of the bad guys

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Q How do email and so­cial me­dia ac­counts get hacked and what can I do to pre­vent it hap­pen­ing to me?

1. You were duped by a phish­ing scam asking you to con­firm your pass­word – ig­nore these mes­sages. 2. You used an easy pass­word or used the same one on mul­ti­ple sites. Mix up your pass­words and make them at least 16 char­ac­ters. 3. Your soft­ware or apps aren’t up to date – de­vel­op­ers try and stay one step ahead of the hack­ers. 4. You’ve joined an un­se­cure wi-fi net­work – only ever log on to wi-fi ac­counts that you trust.

Q What can I do if my email has been hacked?

Don’t rush to change your pass­word – the hacker will see it. Run your anti-virus soft­ware to find and delete any­thing harm­ful. Once that’s done, change your pass­words and se­cu­rity ques­tions for your email and on­line ser­vices such as Net­flix, Ama­zon and es­pe­cially your bank ac­counts.

Q I’m get­ting mes­sages that my com­puter has been hacked – what should I do?

Ig­nore and delete them! Hack­ers prey on fear and of­ten use pop-up warn­ing boxes to tell you that your com­puter will be at risk un­less you down­load anti-virus soft­ware. If you click, you could down­load in­fec­tious code.

Q I’ve been scammed. Help!

don’t be em­bar­rassed – scams are con­stantly re­fined to make them as ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble. If you’ve given out bank de­tails, call your credit card com­pany or bank, and if you have handed over money, call the po­lice too, as your bank or insurer will need a crime num­ber. Re­port any­thing sus­pi­cious to ac­tion­fraud.po­lice.uk

Q How do I keep my bank de­tails safe?

If you’re buy­ing on­line, al­ways check the page has ‘https’ and a pad­lock sym­bol be­fore the URL, which pre­vents hack­ers from tam­per­ing or spy­ing, and if it’s a com­pany you’ve not used be­fore, sign up us­ing strong pass­words be­fore hand­ing over bank de­tails. try us­ing a credit card rather than debit as it stops hack­ers emp­ty­ing your ac­counts and the credit card will have anti-fraud mea­sures.

Q I up­dated my pass­words… now I’ve for­got­ten them!

chances are your browser has a pass­word man­ager that can help you re­mem­ber, and if you ac­ti­vate it, it will also give sug­ges­tions for stronger names.

make a se­cure note of all the pass­words you use

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