There are a number of simple steps you can take to safeguard your personal information.
Tip 1: Be careful who you give your personal information to...and how
- Be very cautious about giving personal information – age, address, phone number etc – to people you don’t know.
- In public places make sure nobody can hear your conversations or look over your shoulder when banking, shopping or making other confidential online transactions.
- Be careful with the amount of personal information you share online. Only make the minimum available (your name) on internet profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn and don’t post your address or date of birth.
Tip 2: Make it as difficult as possible to crack your personal passwords
Create strong passwords and use different ones for different accounts. For a secure password:
- use three words or more
- include a symbol and use upper and lower case letters and numbers.
Remember the more complex and unique to you your password is the harder it is to crack. Also don’t keep a note of passwords where they could be lost or stolen – such as in your wallet or next to your personal device. For more information about staying safe online visit www.cyberstreetwise.com or www.getsafeonline.org.
Tip 3: Always destroy or securely store personal documents
- Check your bank and financial statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned. When getting rid of personal documents always destroy them – rip up or shred.
- If you have a communal mailbox or one in a shared area, empty it frequently.
- If you move home set up a redirection with Royal Mail for at least a year and notify your bank, credit card companies and other organisations you deal with ASAP. Only 29% of British adults report redirecting their post when they move house.
Tip 4: Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls or emails
- Fraudsters are increasingly targeting people over the telephone, posing as bank staff, police officers and other officials or companies to extract personal and financial information. Often the fraudster will claim there has been fraud on your account and that you need to take action.
Your bank or the police will never:
- phone you to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password
- ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons
- send someone to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book if you are a victim of fraud.
If you are given any of these instructions, you’re being targeted by fraudsters. Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. For more information visit www.financialfraudaction.org.uk.
- If you receive unsolicited emails never reply with your full password, login details or account details. Don’t click on any links as you could end up downloading a virus (malware).
Tip 5: Protect your personal devices
- Protect all of your internet connected devices – computer, tablet, TV, mobile phone – by installing internet security software and ensuring that it is kept up-to-date.
- Make sure access to your devices is password protected.