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
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