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03 October 2023

Check sites before divulging personal details

By Alan Macmillan

No one person or business can guarantee you 100 per cent prevention against online fraud or provide you with the perfect solution to protect you from internet theft. In most cases fraud or theft is typically for economic gain, however criminals can also use your identity to fraudulently obtain identity cards, driver licences, birth certificates, passports, visas and other official government papers.

Online banking has opened up a world of possibilities for customers who now have the ability to bank anytime and anywhere. One of the biggest dangers of online banking is identity theft, whereby cyber criminals obtain a person’s internet banking log in and password details. This is commonly referred to as “phishing” and is the most common method currently being employed by criminals to obtain customers’ details.

A phishing attack is where a customer receives an e-mail that appears to be from their bank containing a link to the bank’s website. These links are crafted in such a way that it appears to be genuine but when you click on the link and enter your details you will get an incorrect log in message. By this stage your details have been recorded and the attacker can then log on to your account and transfer large sums of money into their own bank account.

This type of attack is posing a real threat to banks and when phishing first hit our e-mails, even the banking security experts were caught out. So how can you avoid being phished? Simple, just never respond to an e-mail asking for your password and log in details because banks themselves will never issue such a request.

Online banking is not the only form of attack, from e-commerce to virtual communities (Facebook instantly springs to mind) to shopping. How can people be assured of safety in cyberspace? You can’t. But you can take simple steps and measures to ensure you do not become a victim of cyberspace theft.

  - Alan Macmillan is the Operations Director of Secure Plus Security,