Fraud is something that affects more than four million people in the UK every year. While the nature of fraud varies significantly, one of the most prevalent types is credit fraud. This is defined as when someone steals your personal credentials to borrow money or take out credit cards they have no intention of paying back. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from credit fraud, as we explain below.
Strengthen your online security habits
Lots of people use only one or two passwords for every site they visit, which only plays into the hands of cybercriminals. Using randomly generated passwords for every site you visit is a smart move as it makes things much more difficult for criminals looking to hack into your accounts.
If you’re worried about losing track of all your passwords, it may be a good idea to invest in a password manager. You should also activate two-factor authentication where possible to bolster your online security, particularly for financial accounts.
Understand the dangers of ‘phishing’
Phishing is a serious threat and causes people to lose millions of pounds every year. It’s essentially an attempt by a scammer to get you to part with your personal or financial credentials. They can contact you via phone, text, or email, and often pretend to represent a financial institution.
You should never present your personal or credit information to someone who has contacted you out of the blue. If you’re aware that phishing occurs, you can at least recognise it when it happens.
Don’t store your credit card details at e-commerce sites
While it’s tempting to store your credit card details on e-commerce sites to save yourself some time at check-out, doing so leaves you more vulnerable to data breaches. If a hacker is able to get into an e-commerce site’s backend, your card details are at risk.
Equally, if someone is able to steal your password, they can easily log in and spend money on your card without hesitation. Although it takes a little longer to process, refuse the option of ‘saving your card information’ when prompted, as this will reduce your online vulnerability to hackers.
Be mindful of the security of the websites that you use
When you visit a website, your first consideration should be whether or not it’s secure. Thankfully, there’s a really easy way to determine the security of a website. Look to the left side of the address bar at the top of your browser and if there is a small padlock present, the website is secure. If you don’t see the padlock, it’s best not to enter any of your personal or financial details into the site. At a bare minimum, businesses should offer data security to their customers.
Avoid public Wi-Fi for financial transactions
Public Wi-Fi is essentially a hacker’s playground, as they can easily slip into poorly guarded systems to steal the financial data of unsuspecting victims. As such, if you regularly work from a public spot, make sure you don’t carry out financial transactions while you’re using unsecured public Wi-Fi. Frankly, it’s better to connect to your personal hotspot, but if you do use public Wi-Fi, just make sure you don’t enter any of your financial details while you’re online.
Are you doing enough to protect yourself from credit fraud?
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But to make sure you don’t damage your ability to apply for credit, we hope you take on board the above tips and bolster your protection from credit fraud. After all, fraudsters and hackers can target anyone at any time, so it’s important that you’re prepared.