Staying safe online sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Don’t go on any “dodgy” looking websites, and don’t download anything off the internet that you weren’t originally looking for. But with online scammers getting smarter and always trying new tactics, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it used to be to stay safe online. Thankfully there are some simple tips you can follow to ensure all your internet surfing is safe and fun.
Don’t share your online banking passwords
A recent NatWest survey found that half (50%) of British adults are worried they’ll be a victim of online fraud in the next 12 months. However, 1 in 10 (9%) of British adults online admitted to sharing their bank passwords with someone before. Your online banking details should never be shared with anyone, online or in person, and your bank will never contact you asking to confirm them.
Delete phishing emails
A common type of online fraud is called “Phishing”, where a scammer will send you an email pretending to be from a legitimate source, such as your bank or a well-known retailer. These fake emails can be tricky to spot as they might use the right branding and might have a similar email address to the one you’re used to. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the email is asking you for any details, or to click a link, it’s most likely a scam.
If the subject line says something like “Security Alert”, “Account hacked” or “Verify your password”, treat it as suspicious. A trusted retailer or your bank will never email you asking to confirm your details, or download a file, so stay safe and just delete the email. Also be wary of any offers that arrive in an email, saying you’ve won a prize and that you just need to click a link to claim it – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Create strong passwords
Keeping your details safe and knowing how to spot scam emails will help you to continue staying safe online, but make it even harder for criminals by creating strong unique passwords for all of your different accounts. Don’t use a date of birth or your surname in any passwords, and use different numbers and characters (?!@) to make them harder to crack.
Only put your information into secure websites
If you regularly shop online or surf the web, you might have noticed that a lot of websites say “Secure” next to the website URL, with a padlock sign. This means that the website has an up-to-date security certificate. You also want to see “https” (rather than just “http”) in the website’s URL address. This might seem complicated, but you’ll soon get to grips with looking out for these easy signs that a website is safe for you to browse. Look out for any “invalid certificate” or “not secure” messages popping up when you enter a website – this could mean it’s a fake or dodgy website, so avoid buying anything from it or entering any personal details.
Download antivirus software
Install an antivirus software onto your desktop computer or laptop, to ensure your device is protected from potential viruses. So even if you accidentally click an unsafe link, the software will catch any downloads before they harm your device. Trusted brands such as Norton, AVG or McAfee offer free antivirus software to protect your devices.
Stay vigilant and enjoy surfing!
Follow these tips so you can continue staying safe online and stop potential scammers in their tracks.
Looking to improve your digital skills? Why not come along to one of Age UK London’s Techy Tea Parties? Click here to find out when our next event is and book your place.