With the world in our pockets and an infinite number of websites, tools and apps to help us manage our daily lives, things like online shopping and banking have never been easier. But with increased convenience comes heightened risk of online fraud, as scammers try to find new convincing ways to access your personal data. Aqua knows that staying safe online is more important now than ever. In this guide, we'll help you take control of your internet safety and protect yourself from online scams.
As technology evolves, criminals use the internet in increasingly sophisticated ways to try and steal your personal information to commit identity fraud, find out sensitive information about you, or to steal your credit card or banking details for their own financial gain. However, if you know what to look for, you can keep yourself safe.
We're all shopping online more and more, whether ordering for things to be delivered at home or just downloading a film. But do you know what to look for to make sure your purchase is a safe one?
Above all, remember: if you're at all worried about buying from a website, don't risk it.
Scammers have several ways to get their hands on your information, allowing them to commit fraud or access your bank accounts.
Let's look at the most common methods used by hackers including spam emails, viruses and malware, so you know what to look for.
A common way for fraudsters to get your personal information is by email. As well as being known as junk or spam emails, they can be called ‘phishing emails' as they are essentially fishing for your data. This can be done in the following ways:
Again, if you're in any doubt – don't click or respond. Call the organisation directly to ask if they've sent you anything.
Computer viruses can be spread by email or hidden in files that you download from the internet. Once they've taken control of your computer the virus can delete your data, lock you out of your computer or make it unusable. Another type of virus you'll need protect yourself from is malware, short for malicious software. These can often be hidden in downloads from unsecure websites or pop up ads. Also known as spyware, once downloaded it can steal your personal data.
You can protect yourself from these threats by installing antivirus and anti-malware software from a trusted website. You can get free antivirus software, but regardless of whether you pay or not, they are only effective if they are kept up to date, so look for software that auto-updates.
Where possible it's best to avoid using public Wi-Fi. An unsecure connection is like leaving the door open for scammers to intercept your private data. A secure network will encrypt your personal information (name, address, card details), stopping hackers from being able to read it.
It's always tempting to default to any easy password like your first pet's name, or mother's maiden name. But by doing so you may be making it easier for scammers to work out your password, giving them access to your various accounts.
Here are some tips on how to strengthen your password:
1. Don't use obvious passwords like:
2. Use a mixture of random numbers, letters, capital letters and special characters for example £, or #
3. Create a different password for each account you have.
4. Update your passwords regularly
Now that you've chosen your new secure password, you need to keep it safe. It may be tempting to create a document on your computer or to write them in a notebook, but these can be easily found (or lost!). Follow these tips to keep your password a secret:
If you're using your credit card online, it's definitely worth opting in for Mastercard SecureCode. It's a quick and easy service provided by Mastercard and their associated credit card providers.
While registering your card, you choose a 3D secure pin that will be required whenever you make a purchase on a participating website. As long as you don't share your 3D pin, SecureCode protects you from unauthorised online purchases on all partner sites.
All of our Aqua Cards are eligible for Mastercard SecureCode to keep you safe online.
Now that you're aware of how to stay safe online and spot a scam, you're in a strong position to protect yourself. Taking all of the precautions listed above will mean you're unlikely to fall foul of credit card fraud, but if the worst does happen, it's good to know your rights.
If you suspect your Aqua account has been a target of online fraud, you can contact our helpline immediately on 0333 220 2691. Find out more about how we work to prevent credit card fraud in our customer FAQ.
Failure to make payments on time or to stay within your credit limit means that you will pay additional charges and may make obtaining credit in the future more expensive and difficult.
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