Top security tips to protect yourself against fraud this Christmas

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Black Friday marked the start of the festive season, not just for us, but for criminals too. We will all be frantically seeking out some pre-Christmas bargains both on the high street and online.  It’s easy to get carried away with the festive cheer but remember the old adage ‘If something looks too good to be true then generally it is.’

If you’re concerned about fraud, Head of Information Security at Atom bank, Jon Holden, has provided some useful tips to keep you protected and to ensure you don’t put yourself in danger.

  1. Be wise and choose where you shop carefully

“When buying online, look for the padlock or lock icon located in the web browser. Check out the feedback section for buyer reviews and ask if the seller has a returns policy. Do they have a physical address or are they only contactable via phone or email – this may be a red flag!

“Use a credit card when making a big money purchase, as the majority of card companies have online insurance from their customers. Be mindful that some products may be counterfeit – top end designer goods are rarely discounted so you may be buying counterfeit goods.”

  1. Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails or share too much information 

“Fraudsters send out phishing emails which may appear to be from a legitimate online company from which you have previously made a purchase, requesting that you are required to update your payment card details. Check the URL in your web browser. Fraudsters change an address ever so slightly in the hope that you won’t notice that it isn’t the genuine website e.g. www.pay.pa1.com. If you are in any doubt contact the company direct i.e. not via the link. Don’t share too much information and only complete what is required. If you feel uncomfortable with the information you’re being asked for then don’t share it.”

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  1. Update your apps, browsers,  PCs, phones, iPads, tablets…

“Regularly check and install the latest software and app updates on your devices. They contain important security updates that can protect you against malware and fraud.”

  1. Use strong passwords and switch on multi-factor authentication

“It might seem obvious, but many people still use simple and straightforward passwords that are easily guessed by fraudsters. Hackers usually work through lists of common passwords searching for the right combination, and once they’ve guessed your log in details for one account, they could use your credentials to access multiple websites.”

“Use unique passwords for each service you use. Make sure they don’t include names or key dates like your birthday as this could put you at risk. Make it hard to guess by using upper and lower-case letters, special characters and numbers, but not so hard that you won’t remember and have to write it down. Also switch on multi-factor authentication, this will keep you extra protected as it will ask for two or more pieces of evidence to gain access to your account.”

  1. If you’re shopping online on a public/shared computer – don’t click on ‘remember me’ 

“When using a public/shared computer, make sure you log out before leaving the machine and don’t click on ‘remember me’ as that could allow the next user to log in to your account.”

“Selecting the ‘remember my card details’ option is very convenient for future purchases, but means you’re putting a lot of trust in the company behind the website. If they don’t store your details, they can’t lose your details to hackers!”

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