Increasingly, we are conducting our lives and our personal affairs online. We partake in online shopping, social networking, job hunting and use the internet to carry out important and official functions, such as renewing car tax or contacting local councils and government departments online. These actions are now very much an everyday part of life. Using the internet offers us convenience and provides us with opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. For Peterborough Web Design, visit www.routetoweb.co.uk
Do you ever wonder about all the personal information that you enter into online forms? Organisations that collect and use your information have responsibilities to protect it. However, you can take various precautions to protect yourself from identity fraud or the misuse of your information, or to ensure that your privacy is respected in the way you would want. When completing any online transaction you can take steps to protect your personal information. Ask yourself:
- who is collecting the information and is it necessary?
- what will happen to this information?
- what might the consequences be for me?
How you can stay safe online:
Always be aware when providing your personal information online and do not make too much personal information available to lots of people, for example by having open access on social networking sites. Personal information can be used to steal your identity and commit fraud so be wary of anyone who asks for your bank or credit card details in particular. If you do your shopping online, make sure you only use secure sites when shopping online and you can tell if they are secure as a secure site usually carries the padlock symbol.
Be aware of providing the following details:
- Full name
- Full address
- Date of birth
- Telephone number
- National insurance number
- School/ workplace
- Previous addresses
For extra security, it’s best to choose passwords that aren’t too obvious. Try to avoid popular choices such as mother’s maiden name, child’s name, pet’s name, or other information that someone may be able to find out through information you have posted elsewhere, on social media for example.
How to avoid online scams:
Unfortunately, there are always some unscrupulous people who will want to gain access to your bank account or credit cards. Phishing is a scam that lures you under false pretenses to websites which look legitimate to get you to provide personal information. Such emails appear to be from recognisable sources such as banks but are actually linked to fraudulent websites.
- If you’re not sure about the look of something then don’t open emails or attachments.
- Don’t hand over any information until you’re sure who you’re dealing with.
- Be highly suspicious of anyone who asks for your bank account of credit card details or asks for your password.