In a world where you can pay for goods by simply waving your smartphone, and where you can download a banking app to your it’s little wonder that many of us are increasingly at risk of online fraud. The good news is that there are steps we can take to protect ourselves from scammers.
Avoid unsecure Wi-Fi networks
We all like to log in to free Wi-Fi when we’re in public places, but a word of caution: your online activity might be being watched. Avoid logging into your bank account or shopping online when using free Wi-Fi. Fraudsters can mimic Wi-Fi hotspots and trick you into logging in to their network, instead of a legitimate one. Before you know it, you might have entered private passwords or personal information, giving the fraudster free rein to steal your details. If in doubt, connect to the internet using your phone network, where the data being sent is encrypted.
Know your rights
The simplest way to spot any unusual activity in your account is to regularly check your bank account online. If any unauthorised transactions occur, contact your bank and they should investigate the situation and give you a full refund. But, if you’ve been tricked into transferring your money into a dodgy account – for example a fraudster rings you up posing as your bank and you give them your account password – then your bank might not accept liability as you were the one that authorised the transaction.
Beware of dodgy emails
According to research by consumer champions Which?, by far the most common type of bank fraud is when scammers steal your card details via computer virus or unsolicited emails, with losses of £224 million between January and June 2016. The message is: be vigilant. Never click on an email or links from an unknown email address, even if it claims to be and looks like it’s from a reputable company. Also, banks will never send emails or texts asking for your account details.
Get anti-virus software
If you are using a banking app on your phone it’s definitely worth downloading an anti-virus app, such as Norton or Bullguard. This is important if you use an Android phone, as they have an open operating system, which is easier for fraudsters to infiltrate with malware. It’s also worth noting that most mobile banking apps do not store your details directly on your phone, they access it via a secure data centre. So as long as your log-in details are secure no one can access your account.