How To Keep Your Online Data Safe?

The past year or so has been notable for many things, to say the least! The rise in tech take-up amongst the older generations was a feat to behold in itself. As advisers, we witnessed first-hand how national lockdowns drove the masses online. Even those clients who had previously been very wary of the internet took to it like ducks to water and surprised themselves with its many benefits. But, with every positive, there is a negative. And sadly, it was perhaps inevitable that as more people ventured online, cybercrime would also be on the rise. 

To take one straightforward example, the BBC recently reported that romance fraud had risen an astonishing 20% since 2019. Considering that the only way to meet someone during a lockdown is in the virtual world, it’s a sad reality that scammers will have been keen to cheat the lonely and vulnerable out of their money by pretending to want a relationship. 

During lockdown too, the internet also encouraged an increase in the use of online banking. And as a result, the ‘scams’ have become increasingly sophisticated and believable. 

So, how can we protect our ever-growing digital lives? Online fraud is now a recognised career path in many parts of the world, so what can you do to keep your online data safe?

We’ve asked the industry experts for their top tips. So, let’s take a look!

 

online banking from home
Do your online banking at home. 

Café’s and Airport wifi are great for surfing the net, but when it comes to your online banking, it’s best to do so on a network you own and know to be secure. It’s true, there are certain things you should only do at home: wearing pyjamas, flossing your teeth and online banking. 

use a password management tool
Use a password management tool. 

Let’s face it, the name of your pet followed by 123 is not a good password. But, then RP6@%hj78N4G!*fd3R is not the most memorable of passwords even though it’s likely to pose hackers a few more problems than Buster123. As we are all now using multiple passwords, it makes good sense to use a password management tool to keep your online data safe. 

keep your online data safe re device protection
Protect all your devices. 

There are six simple steps you can take to keep your online datat safe on your devices. First, install antivirus software and remember to keep it updated. Ensure your firewall is on. Keep your operating software updated. Be careful about what you click ‘download’ on and about which sites you visit. Clear your cache and your browsing history. And, finally, turn off your devices when you’re not using them! 

digital footprint
Keep your digital footprint to a minimum. 

Where you can, try to keep exposure of your personal and financial data to a minimum. It’s good practise to only ever enter credit card details once and to activate two-factor authentication for all your online transactions and accounts. 

Banks and financial institutions will always do their best to help. But in the end, it is up to you to keep your online data safe. Hopefully, the pointers above will help you do so. 

The last one? It’s simple. Common sense, constant attention – and remembering that if something looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is too good to be true!

Written by Steve Burns

Steve is a chartered financial planner who has been with Lewis Brownlee for over 20 years, who now heads up Lewis Brownlee Financial Services. Under his directorship, the firm has established itself as a specialist provider of professional, informed and impartial advice.

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