Valentine’s Day makes this month a great time to keep in touch, or make new friends online. But we need to be wary of cyber criminals and online fraudsters. They gather together all the snippets of personal or business information you innocently put online, like your Valentine’s greetings, birthdays, your kids’ and pets’ names, and your login details. That could all be all they need to then defraud you or steal your identity… with disastrous results.
So here are six top tips to help you stay safe.
- Don’t publish your date of birth in your profile or highlight your birthday in posts or tweets.
- Remember that if you use the names of pets, family members, a sports team or other ‘favourite’ things in your passwords or memorable words, and reveal your likes and dislikes online, you may be handing a criminal clues to your login details.
- Don’t reveal your passport number, driving licence number or any other official details to anyone unless you’re absolutely sure that they are authentic.
- Don’t get fooled into revealing your PINs or passwords in response to an email, social networking post, text or phone call, however convincing it seems that the request is from your bank, the police or another real organisation.
- Don’t write down or store login details electronically or on paper, where there’s a chance they could be found.
- Email attachments, adverts or links could contain viruses that steal personal information without you knowing. Even an email that seems to come from a friend or colleague could have been sent by a virus on their device. If in doubt check first.
Finally enjoy being sociable and keeping in touch but be cautious and take care with the information you share online.