What does your computer know about you?

5 tips to help keep your computer safe from scammers

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Many of us spend long stretches of the day sat at our computers. We might use them to shop online, save important documents, or plan a new running route. So it's likely that we have stored some personal information about ourselves on our computers.

Of course, it's totally normal to store information about your life on a computer – after all, it's one of the things they're used for. But without protecting your information carefully, there are things you could be saving that could make it easier for a fraudster to put together a sophisticated financial picture of you.

Here are some things we may save about ourselves on our computers, and some tips to help keep your data safe from potential fraudsters.

 

 

5 tips to help keep your computer more secure

There are lots of sensible steps you can take to help keep the personal information on your computer more secure:

  1. Use strong passwords and keep them safe
    Make sure that you lock your computer with a strong password that only you know. The government’s Cyber Aware campaign recommends choosing three random but memorable words – but don’t use words that can be easily guessed, like your birthday or pet’s name. And never write down your passwords, or save a list of them anywhere on your computer.
  2. Change your password when necessary
    Don't share your password with anyone. If you think someone might know your password, you should change it immediately. You should also change your password if you’re worried someone may have accessed one of your accounts.
  3. Have a different password for your email
    Choose a different strong password for your email than the one you use to log into your computer (or anything else). This can help prevent fraudsters gaining access to information you’ve saved, or resetting other account passwords without you knowing.
  4. Keep your computer software up to date 
    Updates are released by companies to strengthen devices against fraudsters. Often these updates can be done automatically – turn these on if possible. Other updates will be manual. If you get a reminder to update your computer, you should follow the instructions, as it could help you stay safe while you’re online.
  5. Check web addresses carefully
    Make sure you’re confident a website is the real thing before you enter any personal information, especially when you’re logging into your online banking, making a card payment or accessing your email.

 

You should always:

  • Check the spelling of the web address.
  • Look for a padlock symbol before the URL.
  • Make sure the web address starts with https://

 

Stay safe online

We hope these tips help you feel more in control of keeping your computer and personal information safe from scammers.

Read more on what you can do to stay safe online

The content in this article is for information only and is not advice. All content in this article was accurate on the date of publication shown above.

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