Staying safe online

Here are some simple tips to help you stay safe and secure when you’re using websites and apps.

Be careful if someone unexpected gets in touch

Especially if they ask you to give them any personal information, log into your online accounts, or make unexpected payments. Scams can happen over the phone, online, in emails or even face-to-face. If something doesn't feel right, don't take the gamble. Contact the company on a number you know and trust, or visit their website directly and log in.

Consider what you share on social media

Data from your profiles or posts – like email addresses, phone numbers, your date of birth and even your pet’s name – could be the key to your digital castle in the wrong hands. Never share your password or PIN, and make sure it's hard to guess. Avoid using your year of birth, or your date of birth.

Use technology to keep your computer secure

Keep all your devices protected by using a reputable antivirus software. Some software will include licences for multiple devices, including mobile phones and tablets.

Use online security when available

Wherever you can, enable two-factor authentication (sometimes known as 2FA or MFA) on your online accounts. This provides you with an extra layer of protection.

Use unique passwords

Avoid using the same password on multiple accounts. If you find it hard to remember all your passwords, use a password manager to keep track of them. Then you'll only have to remember the password for your password manager.

Always check who sent the message

Be cautious when opening attachments or clicking on links in an email you aren't expecting. It's always safer to log in to your account via a trusted method to check any notifications.

Keep up to date with your accounts

Check your bank statements, accounts credit report regularly for suspicious entries or accounts you don't recognise. There are many free options available.

Be careful of convincing stories

Be wary of anyone telling you've been a victim of fraud, either online or over the phone. Fraudsters may try this tactic to gain your personal or banking information and can sound very convincing. Fraudsters can even spoof telephone numbers; pretending to call or text from a number you trust. A legitimate business won't mind if you hang up and call a number that you trust or log into your account.

Your rubbish is another person’s opportunity

You should shred or destroy any documents that contain your personal details before you throw them away.

Keep up to date and learn more

You can find news, updates and information on the latest scams here. And if you think you are or have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible. Other useful sites for information about staying safe online, include: