Online fraud is the use of the internet to defraud or take financial advantage of you. Fraudsters do this by accessing your online bank account or by presenting you with false offers in order to get you to transfer money or provide them with your card details.
The internet is part of our daily lives for shopping, banking and connecting socially. While it brings many opportunities it also allows criminals attempt crimes from a distance reducing their chances of being caught.
By following a few simple guidelines you can help to ensure that you stay safe online.
- When shopping or making a payment online, make sure your internet access is secured – The beginning of the website address should change from ‘http’ to ‘https’ before a purchase is made. This indicates that you are using a secure connection.
- Do not use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks or hotspots to make a card purchase or access your online banking account. Use a 3G or 4G internet connection instead.
- Look for the padlock – Click on the security icon (the padlock or unbroken key symbol) to ensure that the retailer has an encryption certificate. The link should describe the type of security and encryption being used.
- Keep your computer and security up to date – Install a reliable antivirus and browser security software. Ensure it has the latest updates and that it scans your computer regularly to check for malware.
- Be cautious about emails claiming outrageous offers or ads offering miracle products – Generally if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Use appropriate privacy settings on your social media profiles – Remember your information is valuable to a fraudster.
- Do not friend or link with someone on social media unless you know them or have a reason to connect with them.
- Do not click on pop ups or ads that state that you have won a prize.
- Pay attention to your own instincts – If you have any doubts about giving out your card details, end the transaction and purchase your goods elsewhere.
- Be password savvy – if you use a password to log on to your network or computer, use a different password for orders or retailer accounts. Avoid using your address, birth date, phone number or easily recognisable words. The best passwords are alpha-numeric (using letters and numbers) and at least 8 characters in length.