We spend much of our lives online, but it’s important that this doesn’t give us a false sense of security when we go online to shop, as so many of us now do.
There are a number of simple things we can all do to help avoid becoming a victim to identity theft.
– Be careful where you click – It’s best to use websites that you know and trust. Always look for a security padlock icon in the top left hand corner of a page before you register financial or personal information on a website. If an online deal sounds too good to be true, it quite probably is.
– Keep pins and passwords private – It may sound obvious to some, but use strong passwords, especially if you have stored payment details, and it’s a good idea to change them every now and then. It’s best not to use obvious words and dates, such as your birthday, pets’ or children’s names, and to try to have different passwords for all your accounts, in order to avoid running the risk of a ‘domino’ effect were one of them to fall into rogue hands. Finally, it’s best if you can memorise details rather than noting them down – never give account details to anyone else.
– Secure your device –Make sure you are using the built-in security tools and settings on your device. And if possible, install the latest anti-virus and firewall software. Be careful what information you have stored on your phone – including emails that can be accessed without a password.
– Be aware of your surroundings – If you’re out and about, make sure you can’t be overlooked when you make a mobile payment – be especially careful around wi-fi, as once you’ve joined a public network, your device can be seen electronically by anyone else on the network, so avoid using any password-protected sites or information.
– Check your credit report regularly – Make sure everything is accurate and up to date, and query anything that isn’t. Your credit report can highlight irregularities such as suspect applications for credit and rises in card balances. As a CreditExpert member you can get unlimited views of your Experian credit report, which shows credit activity in your name so you can spot potentially fraudulent activity.
Always tell the police, your bank, credit card issuers and anybody else who might be affected if you suffer a theft. That way, your loss is on the record and organisations that might be approached by the thieves will be forewarned. If you think you have become a victim of identity fraud, notify the police, contact your bank and check your credit report. Experian’s Victims of Fraud service is also available to CreditExpert members, and has a dedicated team to give expert advice and support tailored to particular circumstances.
For more information from Experian about how to protect your identity visit this link.