Passwords are your first defence against hackers; therefore it is important to ensure that you use what is considered a strong password as poor passwords can leave people and businesses vulnerable to online crime such as identity theft, fraud and extortion.
Creating a strong password
Use upper and lower case letters
Use three words or more
Include a symbol
Look around and pick three random words such as ‘pen’, ‘cactus’ and ‘chair’. Put these words together and swap some of the letters for numbers and symbols like this: p3nCac+u5cha!r. The longer the password the harder it would be for someone to crack!
What to avoid…
When creating a password you should avoid using the following:
Other family members’ name
Current partner’s name
Something related to your favourite sports team
Date of birth
Place of birth
Use Social Media safely
Social Media is a fun way of staying in touch with your friends and family especially those who live far away and is an easy way of sharing what you are up to. However this information can be used by criminals to commit online crimes such as identity theft or hacking. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram or a blog, you need to be sure what you are posting isn’t going to increase the risk to your online safety.
Tips to using social media safely
Make sure you know exactly what you’re sharing and who you’re sharing it with. Check your privacy settings.
Don’t share any holiday plans or details of your current location online. This information could be used by a burglar to pinpoint when you won’t be at home.
Don’t upload photos of items of high value on any type of open forum such as birthday or Christmas presents. A burglar could use this information as their shopping list.
Spotting common internet scams…
The internet is a wealth of information, products and services which the majority of us will access without issue, although there are criminals who take advantage of this and will use online anonymity to deceive internet users and steal if there is an opportunity.
“Phishing scams are when fraudsters send malicious fake emails, social network posts and texts to tempt you in or try to gain your trust to take your sensitive information and/or money.” (Cyber Streetwise)
Advice: If something seems too good to be true, then it usually is! So if you are in doubt about an email or online deal, delete it!
You may have noticed the ‘love lock’ trend on a bridge of some kind near you; couples attach a ‘love lock’ or ‘love padlock’ to a gate, bridge or anything to symbolize the love and commitment shared between them.
The trend is said to have originated in the early 2000s in Rome, Italy by teenagers imitating a popular Italian book and film.
As it is Valentine’s Day, here are our top 10 places to leave a love lock or padlock.
Tower Bridge, London, UK
Ponte Milvio Bridge, Rome, Italy
Pont de l’Archevêché Bridge and the Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France
Research conducted by the NICEIC suggests that more than a third of homeowners in the UK do not check for ID when letting a tradesman inside their home.
Remember to always check a tradesman’s ID!
Sometimes intruders will pretend to be a tradesman in order to gain entry to your home, this is referred to as distraction burglary. Although these type of burglaries are not as common as other types of crime, it is still important to take the necessary precautions to ensure you are not a victim of this type of crime. In some cases this may be a rogue trader or cowboy builder who may cause damage to your property as they often lack in skill and expertise to carry out the work they are selling to you.
Keep yourself safe!
If you’re ever unsure of who is at your door, don’t open it! Always ask for ID and check the identity of the caller by calling the Company they are from, whether it is a locksmith, electrician or plumber, the majority of authentic tradesmen will carry an ID badge. To verify a tradesman’s identity only use a number listed in your local directory or one supplied independently by your service provider. Never use a number provided by the caller as it may be bogus!
If you have taken these precautions and still suspect the caller is bogus call 999