The concept of cybercrime has been around for a while and financial institutions have been targets of attacks several times. A worrying 43% of companies around the world have announced that they had customer information stolen last year in 2014. This figure is up 30% from 2013. It has also been found that Australians are being defrauded of at least $7 million each month alone by scams and online frauds. Here is some advice and tips from Alpha Finance to help keep your finances secure.
It can be hard to keep track of all the passwords you have for all of your accounts, so it is understandable that you want your login details to be easy to remember. However, picking a generic or simple password could be putting your finances at risk. Every password should be at least eight letters long and include a combination of letters, symbols and digits. You should not pick the numbers of your birth date or choose words that are directly related to you or your name. Instead, consider trying a memory related password. For example, if Tom was born in Sydney in 1991. Then Tom could take the first letter of each word and the date to create a safer password, which would be TwbiSi1991*. Add a symbol at the end for additional security. It goes without saying that you should never tell others your passwords. And if you log into a computer you do not trust, change your password afterwards.
Do not open any attachments from email addresses you do not recognise, without checking the contents first. Fraudulent emails also often include misspellings and bad grammar. If you get an email from a company or a bank, right click or hover your mouse over the email address before providing any information or downloading anything. A lot of fake accounts imitate companies, but when you actually look at the address it will be filled with numbers and strange words. If you find fake emails from your bank, alert them as soon as possible so they can warn their customers as well. Never respond to emails that ask for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will never ask for these things via email. A lot of scams trick people by stating that they need to provide details ASAP or their account will be in jeopardy, this is a trick. If you are concerned, you can call your bank and confirm that your account is safe.
No, you are not going to be transferred millions of dollars from that old widow in need of a safe place to store her funds, nor have you amazingly won a competition that you didn’t even enter. That ‘Software’ isn’t free and is probably loaded with a virus or will hack your computer for important information.
The damage done by digital crimes and scams can be reduced significantly if you can spot the missing money or stolen data when it first happens. Always review the statements provided to you by your bank and credit card company and check for anything out of the ordinary or for any charges for purchases you did not make. You bank will have security measures in place to assist in protecting your finances but even then some frauds get through the cracks.