This is a guest post by moneysupermarket.com. If you are interested to guest post in this blog, just head over to the Guest Post Guidelines.
People are flocking to the internet to shop, chat and download in higher concentrations than ever before. In the UK over 80 per cent of households have web access and in the past decade, more than £300 billion has been spent online.
Of course the downside is that all the cash floating about makes the web a prime target for thieves and fraudsters, so to stay safe online you need to follow a few key tips.
Online fraudsters typically use phishing sites, spam campaigns and malware to mislead consumers into parting with their hard-earned cash, so to stay safe online you need to stay savvy.
Spam mail campaigns can be spotted easily as they are usually unsolicited and harness the power of the latest news stories or financial offers to get you to click here and open them up.
Phishing sites are usually linked to in spam messages, with these fraudulent pages then infecting your PC with malicious code or asking you to buy products or services from which you may never benefit.
Even if you do not pass on your details to spurious sites making phoney offers, the malware which such enterprises can quietly install on your computer might leave your private information exposed anyway.
These are the main tactics of cybercriminals who want to steal identities and payment card information for their own use, but you can avoid such pitfalls if you use a bit of common sense.
Firstly, if an offer seems too good to be true, it almost certainly has been generated by a fraudster to dupe those eager to bag a bargain into giving away information.
Secondly if the site you are using is not secure, then you should not enter any information into it. Secure sites are identified by a padlock symbol located in your browser window, often in the address bar.
All reputable online retailers and financial institutions should offer you a secure way to log in to their sites so that you can be confident that no third party is getting access to your information.
Of course not even the big sites are totally bulletproof, so if you want to avoid having your credit or debit card details stolen you might want to use a prepaid card when shopping online.
Prepaid cards let you top up a separate account by up to £5000 which you can then use at most online outlets, meaning that only this cash is at risk should the card details be illicitly procured.
Online banking in itself is an area in which security needs to be carefully considered, with many experts advising against the use of public computers to make financial transactions if you want total protection.
Banking sites tend to have the most complex security measures in place, with multiple passwords and user-specific information required before login is possible, which should give you peace of mind.
To protect your various online accounts from being hacked, choose passwords which are not generic or easy to crack using a brute force approach. Ideally select random numbers and letters for your most important services to ensure total protection.
With experience comes understanding of how to stay safe online, but a healthy dose of caution and a little research will make sure that you only interact with sites and services that have your interests at heart.
About the Author: Article from moneysupermarket.com, click here to read more from the UK’s number one comparison website.