The Courier-Mail

GEN X BRUCE BRAMMALL

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OH, I yearn for the good old days when robbers had to pickpocket you in the street. They’re now so lazy they pillage our finances from their own home – in Turkmenist­an, Russia or the Congo. So impersonal.

I became a victim of internet credit card fraud before I even had an email address. It was 1998 and, according to my credit card statement, I’d bought CDs in Los Angeles, plus, apparently, saucy adult products in Germany and Holland.

The bank accepted that I was (then) a Luddite, incapable of buying anything via a computer, and refunded me.

A few years later, another bank called and said our cards had been “compromise­d”. They had to issue new ones, which would take two weeks. It was a few days before Christmas. Awesome timing. Lean festive season. Now I read every credit card statement. Defend your personal informatio­n like a parent would defend their children.

Don’t publicise too much on Facebook, such as being away, or your birth date.

Keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software current.

Change your passwords regularly. And don’t make them obvious (for example, your birthday). And if you have a written list of passwords, keep it well hidden and protected.

As for those emailed offers of shares in multi-millions from estates where you are “named” in a will … oh, puh-lease! Bruce Brammall is principal adviser with Bruce Brammall Financial and author of

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