When you access the Internet through the world wide web, it is extremely important that you safe guard your personal information. There are literally thousands of people around the world that make a living exploiting the security loop holes by accessing your personal identity, passwords and bank accounts. There are many more daily who are the victims of these crimes. You have a responsibility as a user of the Internet to take certain precautions to protect yourself from online crime. Internet users who access bank accounts, e-currency accounts or any source of personal information online, should be aware of the following methods used by criminals to convince you to reveal your confidential information. Here are some simple steps to help keep your information secure 1. Avoid being a victim of fradulent email requests for personal information This method is called "Phishing" and is a popular way for criminals who are acting as legitimate businesses to steal your personal information. This is usually accomplished by sending you an email with a hyperlink to a fraudulent website made to look like the real one. Once you have entered your information the perpetrator will have access to your account, many times unknown to you. One way to avoid falling victim to this sort of scam is to never provide any personal details in response to an email. Legitimate businesses will never ask you for your password by email. Be aware of suspicious emails from unknown individuals. Delete before opening anything that you think might be harmful. 2. Make sure you visit your bank, e-currency or financial website via your Internet browser with the correct website address. 3. You should take care to never follow any suspicious hyperlink, url, or open an unknown senders attachment. If you inadvertently reply to a "Phishing" email or respond to what you think could be a fraudulent website, contact your associated financial institution immediately for advice. Do not delay in seeking help. Check your account for any unusual activity. Ways to protect your computer 1. It is important to use only a trusted and secure computer to access your Internet banking account.
2. Using publicly shared computers, such as those at Internet cafes, is strongly discouraged. 3. It is recommended that you keep your computer up to date with current anti-virus protection, firewall and the latest patches. 4. Remember that after you install virus protection it is necessary to update the software so the protection remains current. 5. Avoid using the "remember my user name and password" feature when accessing sensitive financial information. 6. Make sure not to store your passwords and account information on your computer. 7. Use a different password for your bank than you would for your email address. 8. Do not use easy to guess passwords, or passwords that closely relate to you. Your birthdate, name or favorite pet make poor passwords. 9. Create passwords that have both numbers and letters. 10. If you use a wireless network it is important that you never leave your computer unattended. 11. Take extra precautions around wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) hotspots that provide free Internet connections. Coffee shops, Internet cafes, airports and libraries can pose significant security threats. Avoid conducting sensitive business in a Wi-Fi hotspot. Sniffing and Evil Twinning are two methods devious criminals are using to steal confidential data. Sniffing is the act of using a program to search for certain information like passwords and credit card numbers over a Wi-Fi network. Evil twinning mirrors the setting of a Wi-Fi hotspot. When the unsuspecting person uses the evil twinning hotspot the hijacker uses sniffer technology to access anything the victim might be sending. 12. When accessing bank accounts online, confirm that your data is encrypted between the bank and your computer by looking for the padlock symbol on the bottom right hand corner of the browser window. 13. Close your Internet browser after logging out at the end of each online banking session. 14. Beware of any windows that ‘pop-up’ during an online banking session. Most financial institutions have detailed information on their websites on how their customers can protect themselves from online fraud attempts. Visit their website or contact them via email or telephone for information on how you can protect yourself from online criminals.