How to protect your identity online
Identity theft is on the rise. Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated, using the information you share online to pretend to be you and apply for bank accounts, mobile phones, loans and so on. It’s important to stay one step ahead.
The good news is there are plenty of great sites out there to help you and our security expert at TFS Loans has summarised his top tips below. It’s all common sense stuff really and it’s not hard, but it significantly reduces the risk of your identity being stolen and you ending up the victim of fraud:
Reduce the information you allow to be publicly viewed on your social media e.g. when you go on holiday, your birthday, pets names, kids names etc. Make sure you only use this information on closed groups with friends who would know this information anyway and don’t allow them to share it on.
Use an identity which is not easily guessed for access to systems such as banking, utilities. Use different identities for different things. If you choose to use the same ID for all your social media and social sites, then make sure this is different to the one you are using for banking, utilities and other financially related sites/apps.
Don’t use the same password for everything or if you have to, make sure it’s strong. Minimum of 8 characters, upper and lower case letters, numbers and special character. You can use a free password manager, where you store your identities and passwords and you can access it with a strong password. That way you only have to remember one password that you aren’t using online anyway. If you wanted to do this offline, then write your passwords down and lock them in a safe or cupboard.
Ensure that you don’t use the same passwords in your personal life as you do for work. Keep the two separate.
Run the standard operating system on your mobile phone that the supplier has given you. Make sure it’s up to date and not jailbroken. That way you won’t get malware running on your phone and you will be protected from the latest viruses. Ensure that you are downloading the updates from your provider via the official app stores. Make sure you reboot your phone afterwards.
Run antivirus software on your PC.
Make sure your phone and PC are encrypted using a password or biometrics.
Get safe online https://www.getsafeonline.org/ is a Government run site with loads of useful information. You can try testing your password, get answers to any questions and download software. The BBC has also published some useful tips and information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/0/21259413
Finally, we highly recommend the CIFAS site: https://www.cifas.org.uk/services/identity-protection
CIFAS has three decades of experience in combating fraud. They are our go to, for the latest information.
At TFS Loans, we’re very security conscious and we want to ensure all our customers say safe online. We’ve published a number of Blogs in the past about how to ensure your social media settings are up to date, how to stop spam calls and avoid phone scams, spotting e-fraud and illegal money lending. We will continue to add to this series in the coming months, as and when new information becomes available.
TFS Loans are specialist Guarantor Loan lenders. A Guarantor Loan is a form of loan that requires someone to act as the Borrower’s Guarantor. We offer Guarantor Loans from £1,000 to £15,000, over 1 to 5 years. 44.9% APR Representative.