Hayley, Office Manager 

Online security is easily taken for granted as the risk is often put down to scaremongering. We all know we should have anti-virus on our PC’s and hide our passwords, but is it really that simple?

I attended a very interesting session on Cyber Crime last week and I have to say, I walked out of there realising just how easy identity fraud really is. There are literally dozens of websites where you can obtain all sorts of information about someone. This can include finding out your mobile phone provider, your mother’s maiden name and your home address. Worryingly, for many bill providers, this is enough for fraudsters to gain access to your account.

Thankfully, there are ways to make yourself and your details more secure.

With the only other choice to destroy your phone, delete your social media profiles and live the rest of your days on a desert island, following these tips is probably the easiest option:

  1. Don’t share personal information such as your date of birth on any social media account; personal or professional
  2. Keep your personal social media closed and private with the strictest of privacy settings including friends’ lists and photos
  3. Question suspicious or odd emails and phone calls even if you recognise the email address or number. There is software that cyber criminals can use to copycat sender/caller details
  4. Use a strong password combination. The stronger the better as ultimately the more complex it is, the longer it can take for it to be worked out. This can even be a matter of years if it’s a strong one!
  5. Do not follow links in emails that ask you to login or change your details. If in doubt, use your usual route to login to your account

Cybercrime can occur in your personal and professional life. Fake invoices, for example, are commonly emailed to companies and they can look very genuine. It is always best to be careful and check if you have any sort of concern over the legitimacy of something that you’ve received.

Remember, whatever you put out on the web publicly will be there for a long time. Take care what you share!