Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been living in even more of a tech-first world. Simple things that we used to complete on a daily basis, such as a food shop and work meetings have now gone remote.
Due to this, the use of online apps and services such as Zoom, online shopping and banking have excelled at a rapid speed. The ability to move things online has thankfully allowed the spread of coronavirus to slow down, however, it has also meant that lots more people are experiencing fraud and scams online because they’re not used to navigating certain online services, and therefore fraudsters are taking advantage of this.
A survey conducted by Uswitch reveals how people spend their time online, how safe they feel and if they’ve ever fallen for an online scam. With Internet Safety Day just gone on the 9th of February, highlighting the dangers and things to look out for online in order to keep safe is incredibly important.
Think back to a time you’ve visited a new website and you’ve ordered something – most of the time you have to input your details, like an email address, name and contact details. This allows the website to keep us engaged in marketing content, stay in contact with us, but also provide them with insight data. Uswitch’s survey data reveals that over a third (34%) of people don’t believe companies handle their data responsibly, with nearly a quarter (24%) fearing their information had been compromised.
Spotting a fraudster is no longer as easy as it used to be. This raises the question, how do people actually know how to spot a fraudster? Since lockdown has occurred due to COVID-19, the phrase ‘romance fraud’ has been coined – it’s when someone gets scammed for their money by another person pretending to be interested in a romantic relationship.
With Uswitch data revealing that 1 in 5 of us don’t know how to protect ourselves online, and also revealing that over half (54%) of us receive spam emails, there is a need to teach people of all ages about safety online. It’s not just the older generation getting scammed online – no one is safe from scammers, as they’re now targeting low-income young women on social media.
Here are a few tips from Nick Baker, broadband expert, at Uswitch.com on how to stay safe online:
“If our personal details are placed in the wrong hands and shared on the dark web, this can be pretty dangerous. Before we know it, thousands of hackers could have access to our bank details, private information and passwords. It goes to show that when spending time on the internet, users should be mindful of what they’re sharing, and where.
“There are, however, several ways to avoid having your details hacked and shared on places like the dark web, which will allow you to search on the internet safely using the most popular browsers available.
“Here are our top tips to help the public stay safe online.
- When making online payments, check the website is safe. Secure sites start with ‘https’, which means they have an SSL certificate (this enables websites to have a secure connection from the server to a browser). Look out for the padlock symbol in the search bar before you make a purchase.
- Ensure your virus software is up-to-date. If you don’t have adequate antivirus software, your details could be hacked without you realizing.
- Don’t overshare. Keep your passwords varied, using a range of characters in upper and lowercase, and include symbols. This makes your password stronger and less likely to be hacked.
- Don’t click on a link or open an attachment from anyone you don’t trust, whether that’s in an email, text, or on a website.
- Reduce the amount of personal information you share online. This could include your birthday, a pet’s name, or your address, as these details could be used for fraud.”
About the Author
Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. Launched in September 2000, we help consumers save money on their gas, electricity, broadband, mobile, TV, and financial services products and get more of what matters to them. Last year we saved consumers over £373 million on their energy bills alone.
Uswitch can be found online at https://www.uswitch.com/broadband/