Cybercriminals hit the news yesterday as it was revealed that one in 10 adults in England and Wales have been a victim of cybercrime in the past year.
It’s a harrowing statistic. There were 5.8 million recorded cases of cybercrime last year, far more than the 3.8 million figure the ONS predicted back in October, and you are now 20 times more likely to be a victim of cybercrime than suffer robbery. Banks are being affected too, with the number of robberies on branches of UK banks dropping 90% in 2011 compared to 2001, with criminals opting to try their chances online. On top of this, cybercrime is something that can affect us all, with the chances of being a victim staying the same regardless of social class, local neighbourhood or whether you live in an urban or a rural area.
It is now the most prevalent crime in the country.
So what can you personally do to prevent cybercrime happening to you? Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom, and a number of organisations exist that offer help and support to those who are looking to improve their own personal cyber security. To help, here is a list of 9 tips you can follow in order to improve your cyber security:
- Always verify a company’s credentials before handing over any personal information such as your name, address, bank details, email or phone number.
- Remember banks will never ask you to confirm your bank details via email! This is known as phishing, and you can always call your bank on a number you know to be official to confirm whether or not correspondence you have received is genuine.
- Make sure to destroy/shred receipts with card details and post with your name and address.
- Update, update, update! We know those little computer updates can get annoying, but trust us when we say they are important. Always make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed.
- As an additional layer of online security, make sure you’re signed up to the security services offered by your card provider when buying online, such as Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code.
- Make sure to investigate if you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you don’t recognise, or if you are contacted by banks you don’t usually deal with.
- Make sure to regularly check your credit file for entries you don’t recognise. If fraudulent activities have taken place, a dedicated caseworker will help to resolve the situation.
- The old ones are always the best; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always question post, phone calls or emails offering business deals out of the blue.
- If you thought being a victim of fraud was bad enough, be very wary of fraud recovery fraud. These fraudsters will impersonate law enforcement or lawyers and tell you they can help you recover your lost cash. Don’t get stung twice!
Don’t let this be another article you read and ignore on data security. Make sure you’re protected today.
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ONS 2016, BBC 2011, BBC 2016, The Guardian 2016
Jordan Maciver on
Friday, July 22, 2016