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How to stay safe from cybercrime

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With cybercrime rarely out of the news, it's only natural that people are worried. Here's are some top tips to help keep you safe from cybercrime and hackers.

Protect your finances from cybercriminals

  • Contact your bank or credit card provider if you are at all worried that your financial information could be at risk. For example, if you discover that you are the victim of a cybercrime or data breach
  • Keep an eye out for any bills or emails showing goods or services you haven't ordered
  • Check your bank statements regularly for any unfamiliar transactions and alert your bank or card provider immediately if there is any suspicious activity
  • Be careful who you trust - criminals may try and trick you by telling you that you've been a victim of fraud. Cybercriminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and to reveal your security details
  • Don't be rushed or pressured into making a decision. A trustworthy organisation would never force you to make a financial transaction on the spot
  • Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected changes
  • Understand that a genuine bank or other financial organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN or full password
  • Know that a legitimate bank or other business would never ask you to move money to another account for fraud reasons
  • Register with the Cifas protective registration service. This will slow down credit applications made in your name with additional verification checks made to ascertain that the applicant is actually you

Protect your personal data from cybercriminals

  • Do not click on any suspicious links. This could result in you giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details
  • Beware of any unsolicited communications that refer you to a web page asking for personal data
  • Always question uninvited emails, calls, etc. in case it's a scam. If you are at all unsure, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number
  • Don't assume an email, phone call, text or social media message is authentic. Just because someone knows your details (such as your name and address or even your mother's maiden name), it doesn't mean they are genuine
  • Don't accept friend requests from people you don't know on social media
  • Regularly review your privacy settings on any social media platforms, website and apps you use
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Use a different password for every account. If you are worried about remembering them all you could sign up to a password manager
  • Make sure your devices are protected by up-to-date internet security software
  • Know that cybercriminals can make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if you recognise a name or number, or if it seems authentic, it might not be genuine
  • Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong, then it is right to question it and refuse requests for personal or financial information. Stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it

What if you think you are already the victim of a hacker or fraudster?

  • Report any suspected fraud to Action Fraud
  • If you have had money stolen, contact the police
  • Contact the ICO to let them know about your concerns if you are worried that a data breach has put your data at risk of cybercrime. The ICO might investigate the data breach and, while it does not award data breach compensation, if it believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  • Make sure that if you are offered any form of compensation or free services from the organisation that put your data at risk, you check the small print. Be careful that in accepting an offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  • If you want to make a cybercrime compensation claim - for loss of money or emotional distress - you should contact Hayes Connor Solicitors.

Making a cybercrime compensation claim

Our expert, online fraud and data protection solicitors will advise you on whether you have a valid cybercrime compensation claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have.

Our initial assessment is always free. We'll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about your legal rights when making a claim.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe from cybercrime, follow Hayes Connor Solicitors - the data protection experts - onTwitterandFacebook.