From worms to trojan-horses, there’s a whole ecosystem out there of viruses and scams that tech savvy fraudsters have created to try and access your personal information. But fear not, just like a bad flu, malicious malware and viruses can also be avoided. We’re here to equip you with the tips you need to guard yourself against device fraud and stay safe.
Have you ever opened an email, and seen a message like this?
“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
This is a prime example of a phishing scam. Follow these guidelines to one-up phishing attempts:
- Always type the website address into your browser – Don’t click on a link or attachment in an email.
- Consider any email requesting personal information such as account numbers or passwords to be suspicious. Delete the email and don’t reply – legitimate companies don’t ask for this information over email.
- Mark suspicious emails as spam so they don’t pester you in future.
Outsmart smartphone phonies
More people are using their phone like a wallet, and in general, the amount of information we store on our phones is increasing. While there are perks to having your info at your fingertips, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions to keep it safe. Here are some bulletproof ways to protect scammers from getting in:
- While protecting your phone with a PIN code is an obvious security setting, other simple steps include turning off Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS when not in use (this saves your battery too!). Also, resist temptation and avoid using public Wifi hotspots, especially when accessing online banking.
- Be wary when installing applications onto your phone. Only download apps from legitimate app stores such as Google Play or the Apple App store. Tricksters sometimes send applications designed to download malicious software onto your phone. Stick to your regular app store and they can’t reach you.
- Make sure your mobile phone software is updated regularly. If there is an update, don’t let it linger or keep postponing it (let’s be honest, we’ve all clicked ‘remind me later’). Updates are often released to patch any security vulnerabilities. So next time an app update pops up, grab a coffee and let it download.
Not as easy as 123456
Did you know that 123456 is the world’s most common password? In this day and age, everyone is using social media more, even mum is on snapchat! We need to lift our game on password protection and get creative. Don’t make hacking easy with these simple measures:
- It’s time to change that password of yours. If your password is still your pet’s first name, or really is 123456, we’re looking at you! Make your passwords hard to guess and change it frequently. A strong password should include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure you never share your passwords with anyone and use a different password for each account you use.
- Less really is more. Be careful what information you share on social media sites to keep identity thieves at bay. For example, don’t tag your home in photos, publicly share your phone number or email, and keep your profiles visible to only family and friends where possible.
- Always logout of social media sites, bank websites and emails when not in use.
Block it like it’s hot
Your trusty computer can also fall victim to sneaky viruses and scammers. Identify the traps and prevent unwanted guests with these useful tips:
- Sick of those pesky pop-ups that appear all over your browser? Scammers can use pop-ups to install programs on your computer that spy on you or record your keystrokes. This is how they find out passwords to your bank and other details. Most internet browsers let you block pop-ups by selecting ‘turn on pop-up blocker’ or a variation of this term under the tools or settings menu.
- Install up-to-date anti-virus software – It will automatically prevent, detect and remove any suspicious programs from your computer. Always scan devices such as USBs or external hard drives before opening them on your computer.
- Travel tip: Never use public computers for banking or payments when travelling – your account details could be stored on the computer.
So now you know how to keep your digital devices safe, we think it’s also worth knowing how to spot a fake ATM, because pesky fraudsters are offline too. No matter the circumstance, we always have your back!
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