Beat the phishing scams with our cyber security tips for Safer Internet Day
There are lots of fantastic examples of how the pandemic has brought out the best in people. Sadly, it’s also true that criminals have used it as an opportunity to target consumers with increasingly sophisticated phishing scams, where official-sounding emails, texts or phone calls trick you into handing over money or personal details.
With more people relying on the internet for everyday tasks, cases of fraud rose by a third in 2020 according to analysis by the consumer rights organisation Which? This cost UK consumers a staggering £2.3bn during the first year of the pandemic and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
So, with increasingly sophisticated phishing scams on the rise, how can you protect yourself? To mark Safer Internet Day on 8 February, here are our top tips to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters.
Spotting the scammers
Online fraud used to be relatively easy to spot thanks to giveaway signs like spelling mistakes or unusual email addresses. But as scams get more sophisticated, try looking for these tell-tale signs in emails, texts or calls:
• Does the message claim to be from someone official, like a bank, solicitor, doctor or government department?
• Are you told that you have a limited time to respond, with a threat of a fine if you don’t?
• Does the message prey on your emotions, making you feel excited, fearful, hopeful or curious?
• Is the message promising something that might be tempting like cash, or in short supply, like medicines?
What to do next
Contact the organisation directly but do not use the phone numbers, email addresses or links from the suspicious message. Instead, use the details from their official website.Remember: banks and other official organisations will never ask you to send personal info via email or text.
If you think you’ve spotted a scam, make sure you report it. The government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has detailed information on how to report phishing emails, texts, websites and calls.
How to make yourself a tougher target
Criminals love using personal details from social media sites because it creates the impression they know you, just like a real organisation would. And unless you take steps to control the security and personal settings on your accounts this information could be used against you.
For a guide to improving security on all the major social media platforms, as well as advice on using additional protections like two-factor authentication, take a look at the NCSC’s in-depth guide.
As safe as ADT houses
At ADT, we take protecting our customers’ data just as seriously as protecting their homes. That’s why our security systems feature bank-level encryption, meaning your personal information is completely safe with us. If you’d like more advice on protecting yourself at home, as well as online, take a look at our dedicated home security packages.