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Five tips to stay safe online this year

Date: 10 January 2022

2 minute read

Criminals are often articulate and knowledgeable, using sophisticated techniques to make their scams look like genuine investments. Even the most tech-savvy of people can be caught out by fraudsters.

The people they target tend to be experienced investors, those over 65, with savings over £10,000. In fact, research by Age UK suggests the average age of fraud victims is 75, with recent figures putting the average loss at £32,000. But it can happen to anyone.

As fraudsters become more sophisticated, it’s often easy to be drawn in by bogus financial promotions, particularly when they come via email or online advertising.

Here are five useful tips to help you stay safe online this year:

1. Check the website is secure

If you are logging in, making a payment, or entering any personal or sensitive details, make sure you check that the website address begins with ‘https’.

An ‘SSL certificate’ helps to create a safe, encrypted connection between your device and the website being accessed, information is exposed and could easily become accessible to cybercriminals.

2. Beware of fraudulent websites

A fraudulent or ‘spoofed’ website is designed to look indistinguishable from the original and has the potential to collect your data, payment details or even download harmful software to your computer so it’s important to be vigilant:

  • double check you have entered the web address correctly
  • look for the official company page through a trusted search engine such as Google
  • use the padlock icon to check that the security certificate is present and legitimate

3. Learn to spot fake emails

Spam or phishing emails often contain deals that look too good to be true. If you receive an email from a sender you don’t know, do not open it, or click on any of the links.

If you suspect an email is not legitimate, you can create a rule within your email account to send any further emails from the address to your spam folder.

4. Use secure passwords

Protect yourself by using a secure password for any online accounts:

  • your password should ideally contain a mix of letters, numbers or special symbols
  • use a different password to the one you use for other services
  • never share your passwords with anyone else
  • change your password on a regular basis

It can be beneficial to use a ‘password manager’ to provide secure password generation and storage, so you don’t have to worry about creating lots of secure passwords, or how to remember them.

Further guidance on passwords can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre website.

5. Get the latest anti-virus and firewall software

Download updates regularly to make sure you’re protected against any new online threats.

Stay safe from scams

Your security is our priority. Read more about keeping your finances safe online.

Stay safe online