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Don’t get caught by fraudsters. Stay alert and protect yourself from cyber scams like phishing. Phishing is a scam used by fraudsters to obtain your login information via fake emails with links or attachments which direct you to a webpage resembling your bank website.

  • Pay attention to the “greeting” used in any email you receive. Phishing emails typically use generic greetings such as “Dear customer”. At times, fraudsters refer to you by your email address.
  • Look for strange links with numbers, hyphens or misspelling.
  • Search for the sender details and verify that they are legitimate.
  • Be cautious of opening any emails that you weren’t expecting (even if you think you recognise the sender), and if suspicious, remember not to click on any links or HTML attachments.
  • Ensure that you use anti-virus software to protect your PC, laptop and mobile devices.

Be aware of emails containing statements or “bank” notifications that require you to enter your bank login information after clicking a link or downloading an attachment.

What you can do:

  • Delete these suspicious emails from your mailbox.
  • You can send any suspicious emails to your bank to verify.
  • If you did click through on any of the links or attachments provided in the phishing email, contact the fraud line of your bank immediately.

Passwords:

The problem with passwords is that we need so many of them. So, we create easy passwords or use the same password for multiple accounts to make our lives easier.

A hacker can crack an eight-character password of just lower-case letters in about 10 minutes. But, if you use a 15-character password with upper-case and lower-case letters and combine it with numbers and symbols, it will take a hacker 47 000 years to crack that password.

Seven ways to practise good password management:

  • Create different passwords for every account.
  • Make your password at least 15 characters long. Use upper- and lower-case letters and include numbers and symbols.
  • Consider a “passphrase” when creating a password. For example, “1 will do the BEST 1 can!”. The phrase is created with a strong combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and will be easier to remember.
  • Never use information in your password that can easily be found online, like your date of birth or recovery questions.
  • Enable second-factor authentication for as many online accounts as possible. When you enter your username and password, you will get a one-time PIN on your phone to log into your account.
  • Don’t store passwords on your computer, phone or tablet. Many devices will back up your data to your cloud account. If your cloud account is hacked, cyber-criminals will have access to all the passwords that you have saved to the device.
  • Never save passwords when prompted by your browser. Enter your username and password every time you visit the site.
  • Using single sign-on offered by Facebook or Google might be convenient, but it makes you more vulnerable to online fraud. All a hacker needs to do is to hack one password to access any linked account.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

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