6 Tips to Stay Safe Online
Tip 1: Use Common Sense
We all love a bargain, some of us a little bit too much. Criminals know this and use our love for a deal to scam us out of our hard earned cash.
If something seems too good to be true, the chances are that’s probably the case.
You might see sensational deals for cheap products advertised on Facebook or by email. Friends or family may have shared these offers with you. Just be sure to check the website to satisfy yourself that it is a genuine company and not one which will just take your money and run!
Check the websites ‘About Us’ page, are they a registered company, are there any reviews on sites like Trust Pilot. It can also be useful to check when a website was created. If it was very recently, then it is most likely not legitimate.
Tip 2 – Never Click on Links in Emails or Messages
If the email is from a reputable site, simply navigate directly to the site yourself in a web browser, NOT from any links in the email and the deal should be available.
Criminals sometimes set up sites that look exactly the same as the one you’re expecting (at least for a page or two anyway) and it can be an easy mistake to log in, then get a nasty surprise when you don’t receive the goods or your bank account is emptied.
Tip 3 – Check the Website URL
When shopping online check the web address (URL) in your search bar. It should always begin with ‘https://’ and not just “http://’ like the red message screen below.
This shows the website is secure; meaning all the data transmitted between you and the server is encrypted.
So any cyber-criminals that attempt to hack the website won’t be able to read your information.
You will also see a small closed padlock symbol at the start of the web address.
You can click on the padlock to see further information – including the certificate information and cookies in use etc.
Tip 4 – Use a Credit Card Wherever Possible
Credit cards offer far more protection against online purchases, and some even offer extended online protection plans to protect your money when buying online. Speak to your credit card provider if unsure.
If you don’t have a credit card, perhaps it is worth obtaining a pre-paid debit card you can load with the money you wish to use online. That way if the details are taken, it’s not directly linked to your actual bank account and won’t cause you the nightmare of all your money being taken. Still awful, but the lesser of two evils.
Tip 5 – Use Different and SECURE Passwords
Firstly – make sure your passwords are secure. Use a capital letter, a number and a symbol in there and you will normally be OK. Making your passwords achieve this level of security will deter most hackers.
Secondly make sure you use different passwords for different online accounts because if the worst happens and your account is hacked, criminals will quickly try many other online accounts, so taking these steps could ensure you minimise the problem if the worst happens to you.
Tip 6: Use Multi-Factor Authentication for Every Account Possible
Multi-factor authentication (MFA/2FA) is a very handy tool that allows you to only be granted access into an account after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence.
Authentication apps are a good example of an MFA method as the password and authentication code generated by the app are needed. It is a good idea to enable this feature on all accounts possible. A hacker may get hold of your password, but they definitely won’t get in without this information too.
Its sad that we have to write these – but its the world we live in.
Just be aware and stay safe online – please feel free to share or tag anyone who would benefit from these 6 tips to stay safe online.
Thanks for reading.
If you would like to speak with us you can call on 02476 102030 or via this form.