In our modern digital age, data is king. Previously, large organisations had to rely on customer loyalty schemes, such as the Tesco Clubcard, to get information on their customers. But not any more. Companies are desperate to get your name and e-mail address so they can add you to their newsletter. It’s all online. So in this new digital age, how do you stay safe?
1. Pick secure passwords
Passwords are getting harder and harder to remember. Sometimes you have to use such a combination of uppercase, lowercase, special characters and numbers that you have no chance of remembering the password.
So here’s a good tip; use a memorable phrase. So, ‘My nana has 2 dogs & 10 fish’ can become: ‘Mnh2d&10f’
2. Change your passwords regularly
You should change your passwords every couple of months to keep online services as secure as possible. If your password has been compromised, changing it will stop anyone using your old one.
If you use the current month in your memorable phrase then you’ll know how long you’ve had the password.
3. Use different passwords
Don’t use the same password for everything. If your single password is discovered then your mail, banking, Dropbox etc. will all be compromised. If the passwords are different, each online login is isolated.
4. Remember me?
If using public computers, ensure the ‘remember me’ button is deselected to stop the computer remembering all your login details for the next user. I’m sure we’ve all been the subject of a Facebook takeover at some point.
Logging out of your e-mail or banking might seem obvious, but if you’re in a rush then logging out can be easily missed. So don’t forget!
5. Buy a shredder
Never throw anything away with your name and address on it. Shredders are not expensive and go a long way to keeping your identity secure. Shred everything which contains any of your personal details.
6. Check bank statements
Regularly check your bank statements for any activity you don’t recognise. Whatever the amount, call your bank and report any suspicious activity. They’ll immediately block your card and send you a replacement, whilst launching an investigation.
7. Protect your phone
Most people keep their phone alongside their purse or wallet. So if one gets stolen, it’s likely the other will be taken too. As a result it’s important not to keep card pin numbers on your phone. A passcode number on your phone is an absolute must for everyone otherwise all your phone data is at risk if you lose your phone or it get stolen.
8. Avoid oversharing online
Identity thieves don’t need much to steal your identity. Be careful how much you share on Facebook and Twitter and keep personal information to minimum.