Barely a week goes by without at least one news story about a new online scam. It seems the criminals are always one step ahead, and will try anything to catch out the unwary.
It’s not surprising really. Because we now do so much online, from banking to shopping to chatting on forums and social media, the internet gives the criminal fraternity plenty of scope.
Online Identity Theft
In most instances, scammers are trying to steal details about your identity in order to defraud you or other people of hard-earned cash. The key is to be mindful of this when you use the internet and to follow these straight-forward rules to protect yourself and anyone else in your family who uses the internet.
1. Be aware
Simply knowing that the internet is used by scammers is helpful in avoiding becoming their next victim. It keeps you on your guard, so when you receive suspicious emails or land on a website which looks suspicious, you’ll think twice before proceeding further.
2. Invest in security software
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good, basic security software for your computer. The level of protection you need will depend on how you use the internet – PC World have a good blog post to explain how to choose the right security software for your PC. Install the software that’s right for you, and then make sure you keep it up-to-date!
3. Don’t open suspicious emails
If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, and with a subject line which strikes you as irrelevant or odd, don’t open it – the email could contain a virus which will damage your computer.
The same goes for any email which promises to make you rich overnight. Shame though it is, this is a common technique by scammers. They often request online bank account details, or promise to make you rich in return for sending hard cash through the post – don’t fall for it!
4. Take care when revealing personal details online
Restrict the amount of personal information you disclose when online, especially when using social media sites. While you may prefer to be fully open about where you are going and what you are doing, this information can be extremely helpful to scammers.
5. Check your bank statements
Banks usually provide excellent security measures but it’s well worth getting into the habit of checking your statements to ensure your account is not being accessed by anyone else. Shred any documents containing your personal details.
If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, or to find out more about our identity theft investigations, please get in touch.