The digital revolution has affected most things in life, and crime is no exception. A new kind of criminal activity is on the rise, less dangerous for criminals, but even more potentially expensive for victims.
At Continuum we look at ways which will help protect yourself and your wealth from cybercrime.
What is cybercrime – and what is cyber security?
Cyber crime is big business. In 2018, the global cyber crime economy was estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion. Attackers can also be driven by political, ethical or social incentives – but most are like any other criminal, and after your money. According to the UK government’s figures almost half of businesses have at least one cyber attack per month.
Criminals originally targeted banks – but banks have advanced security measures. Consequently, criminals may now tend to target smaller and more vulnerable businesses. These can include those you shop with online – which means you could be at risk every time you place your grocery order, buy a book or a song, or even open an email.
Internet users should be aware of the dangers that lurk when opening emails, when online banking, online shopping, or even when using social networking.
There are many types of cybercrime.
Cybercrimes include things like, cyber-stalking and bullying, but the most common type is theft. Cybercriminals may attempt to steal your money by intercepting an order you place online by hacking into a merchant’s system and stealing payments as they pass through it. Alternatively, criminals can build a website that looks almost exactly like a legitimate site, make appealing offers and tempt you to place an order. Naturally, your goods will never arrive, and you will never see your money again.
The second type of cybercrime is identity theft. One form of this is ‘Phishing’. A criminal is able to send you a ‘phishing’ email, which is designed to entice you to visit a site where you are encouraged to enter more personal information such as your name and bank account or credit card details.
The more information the criminal is able to gather, greater likelihood of success in taking out loans or emptying your bank accounts by impersonating you online. The whole process can even be automated, and you may have no idea what has happened until you find that you are liable for massive debts you don’t recognise. Even if you can prove you are not responsible, your credit rating can remain in tatters.
So how can you protect yourself?
Safeguarding yourself means taking some basic precautions.
- Be careful when clicking on links within emails – if you don’t know the sender – don’t click.
- Be wary of entering any information online. Who is asking – and why?
- Ensure that you have anti-virus protection on your PC, make sure it includes data protection software and keep it updated.
- Check your bank statement regularly for any unauthorised payments – and contact your bank immediately if you find them.
- Use strong passwords. Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites and change your passwords regularly.
- Don’t be rushed into making changes to your online arrangements by a call from someone who claims to be from your bank. They almost certainly are not.
How Continuum keeps you safe
But perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be sure you only do business with legitimate websites, from reputable businesses.
At Continuum, we have the cybersecurity measures we need to keep you safe online through our Personal Finance Portal. Not only does our system enable you to view your financial portfolios in one place, it also provides you with a secure messaging service, so you can quickly get in touch with your Adviser and have the peace of mind of knowing that any information you share is encrypted and completely private.
You work hard for your money, and we work hard to help you make the most of it. So, it makes sense to safeguard your wealth by making the most of our secure services.
Why not start today?
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
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