People use the internet for research, news, entertainment and to manage their finances. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a crucial tool for communication on all levels. People of all ages adopted new technologies, from online calls for working from home, to online learning for school children.
Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic and the rising cost of living, criminals have taken advantage of situations where people are worried about their finances. According to recent data from UK Finance, a staggering £609.8 million was lost as a result of fraud and scams in the first half of 2022.
Various programmes and initiatives have been put in place to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud or scams. The Take Five campaign provides guidance to assist everyone in defending themselves against financial fraud.
‘Take Five’ recommends three steps for staying safe:
At Suffolk Building Society, we want to help and support our members to stay safe online. Here are our 10 key points to be aware of:
- Never share any of your passwords/login details and change them on a regular basis. Don’t use the same passwords for different accounts.
- Install the latest anti-virus software on your computer to make sure you are protected against online threats.
- Learn to spot fake emails, text messages and social media messages claiming to be from a trusted organisation when they are not. This is defined as ‘phishing’.
- Be aware of phone calls claiming to be from a trusted organisation when they are not. This is defined as ‘vishing’.
- Click links with caution. Search for official company websites in your browser rather than following links.
- If you have the facility to set up a fingerprint on your phone, do it! It will help if your phone was to get into the wrong hands.
- Make sure you log off when you are finished using an application, especially if you are using a public computer/device.
- Turn on two-factor authentication. This will add an extra layer of security if you are trying to login to an online banking facility.
- Be wary of what you are sharing and tagging on social media. It allows scammers to potentially find you in person.
- If you are ever concerned about an email, text or phone call purporting to be from Suffolk Building Society, don’t hesitate to contact us by email at [email protected] or by phoning us on 0330 123 0723.
If in doubt, it is always best to stop and think first, in an attempt to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Statistics around cybercrime might be frightening, but you can take a few easy steps to help stay safer online.