Protect Yourself from Online Fraud

Illegal activity is becoming more prominent online as the world becomes increasingly digital, with fraud costing individuals and companies billions every year from unauthorised transactions to scams. Beyond fraud, cyber threats include phishing, a phoney email that requests private information. In file hijacking, criminals obtain a file to request a ransom. With keylogging, hackers keep track of which words are typed on the computer’s keyboard. Protect yourself, business, and family by using an ounce of prevention.

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The best way to protect yourself is to learn how to spot potential scams and be proactive. This includes things like fraud and phishing. Scams use new technology to obtain private information. Criminals also approach potential victims online by pretending to be someone the victim knows. Be careful about responding to requests for money or private information received through social media, text, or an email.

Perform due diligence to ensure that you are aware of the background of the person that you are interacting with online. Do not provide your financial or personal information to any person or company that you cannot confirm is legitimate. Online reviews offer insight into the business processes of the individual or company.

Unauthorised use of a credit card online can be prevented. Some websites offer free trials that require a credit card. Review the terms and conditions to ensure that you can cancel. Often free trials end with monthly, automatic charges. Review credit statements for unauthorised activity, disputing any bogus charges.

Protect Yourself

Any computer that goes on the internet is vulnerable to cybercrime, such as viruses or hacking. Using a firewall and anti-virus software is a must to ensure the safety of the computer and important, private information. The firewall prevents unauthorised access to the computer and the antivirus software scans the computer to alert you of unexpected intrusions.

Maintain your computer’s security by ensuring that you have the latest updates for all apps and systems. Cyber-security is often overlooked. Updates ensure that computers have the latest security and fraud prevention software. Be cautious of links or attachments which may contain viruses or redirect to a fake website.

Credit cards provide payment protection. However, you shouldn’t give credit card information to anyone that you do not trust. Money transfers can also make recouping funds problematic, if the company does not perform as expected.

Use different usernames and passwords, if you have multiple website accounts. Use a unique password, avoiding common words, birth dates, or names. If you use the same password for each account, a criminal could feasibly access all your online accounts by figuring out the only password that you use.

Report Fraudulent Activity

Contact the National Crime Agency or call Action Fraud to report cybercrime. Reporting these crimes immediately will help the agencies to investigate. Law enforcement and businesses are working together to fight the increase in online activity which has become a major percentage of all crime in the UK.

Understanding the types of online criminal activity is the first step to prevention. Protect yourself by doing research and remaining cautious. Cybercriminals are more sophisticated, using technology to trick the unsuspecting.