Careful what information you provide

When making a transaction online, remember that the retailers do not need your personal information such as your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name or your National Insurance number. But crooks need them because this information combined with the bank details you have just entered to pay for you products could be everything they need to steal your identity online.

Check the site you are currently on
Always check online to find out whether or not the site you are on is legitimate and that the website URL is spelt correctly. Cyber criminals will often create copy-cat versions of popular sites to try and con your out of your cash. If it does not look or feel right then it could be a cloned website.

Look For the Padlocks
Before completing the payment details always make sure that the website you are on uses secure software. When you are at the checkout screen check that the web address begins with `https’ and that an image of a tiny locked padlock appears in the address bar or the bottom right corner of the screen.

Beware of Free wi-fi
It is a good idea to never access secure websites or input your personal details while using a free or public wi-fi connection as someone could be watching everything you are typing and viewing over the internet connection. In fact, it is a good idea to never use open wi-fi connections at all if you can help it, if you must, then please make sure your firewall and anti-virus software is up to date.

Pay by card for extra protection
If you are spending over £100 online then, where possible, it is a good idea to pay by credit card as if things go amiss or a someone steals your money then you have got a greater chance of getting a refund.

Keep a close eye on your bank account
Check your bank statements frequently. If you spot anything you don’t recognise then query it straight away as strange searches on your credit report or odd amounts of money leaving your account could mean someone has stolen your identity. Speak to your bank about what alerts services they offer on your accounts.

A Credit Report can be one of the best ways to know if someone else is using your details. There are a number of companies who can provide you with this information. Experian or Equifax


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