How to Stay Safe Online
Getting online can make life a lot easier but can also bring up problems of its own. Issues like email scams and fraud are increasing in number, and this can impact your safety online. You can protect yourself from these if you know what to look for, and how to keep yourself secure online. We have rounded up some tips to help you make the best of your time online, without risking your safety.
Scammers send bogus emails in the hope that people will enter their personal or financial details. Sometimes, these emails can look like they have come from a legitimate company, but there are key things you can look out for to recognise that it’s a scam:
- errors in the spelling or grammar, or an unusual style of writing
- requests for personal information, such as your username, full password, or bank details - genuine organisations will never ask this
- threats that unless you act now, a deal will expire, or your account closed
Some scam emails also may include fake website links, telling you to click on them to win a prize or lottery. Make sure never to click on any link in an email that you might suspect to be a scam – delete the email straight away. If the email claims to be from an organisation, ring them straight away using the number on their website and ask them whether the email is valid before doing anything with it.
Sometimes, scammers will use fake websites that look official, requesting you to share personal or financial information. For example, a fake bank website may be set up, asking you to update your personal information or security information. If you are unsure about the content of a website, try typing in the official website for your bank, which can be found on any letters that they have sent you, and see if they match up. If you’re still unsure, find their number on any paper correspondence and ring them to ask.
Viruses are programs that can be downloaded onto your computer, usually by opening a document or link from a spam email. Criminals can then use this virus to take control of your computer, as well as steal personal information, delete files, and send out spam emails from your accounts.
The best way to protect yourself from a computer virus is to buy legitimate anti-virus software, such as McAfee or Norton, as this will prevent any viruses from being downloaded onto your devices.