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Oyetunji Abioye

Phishing mails are very common in Nigeria today. Millions of bank customers in the country receive phishing mails on daily basis. Also related to this is the issue of identity theft. This article intends to deal with these issues. There is a need to consider top tips that will keep your online bank account safe from fraud, including phishing attacks and identity theft.

Criminal gangs are constantly inventing new ways to try to get their hands on your money.

You can help keep the cash in your bank account safe and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of fraud by following some simple steps.

According to http://www.which.co.uk, here are some of the top tips to avoid phishing and identity theft:

  • First of all, make sure your computer or laptop is protected with a good security software programme and antivirus software. Keep them all, along with your browser, up to date. Try to visit the guide to choosing antivirus software so you can find the best package to keep you safe.
  • Different banks have different security measures for online banking, but if you have to set up a password, make sure it is a mixture of letters and numbers, and is different from an email password. If you access your email from an insecure computer, scammers can steal your password details and use them to access your account. Also, don’t write your passwords down in full or share them with anyone. Create the perfect password.
  • Never disclose personal details, such as your password, on email or over the phone unless, of course, it is one you have agreed with your bank for telephone banking.
  • However, if you received a call or email from your bank that you weren’t expecting, treat it with suspicion, regardless of the apparent name of the organisation contacting you. Never follow a link from an email purporting to be from your bank and never open an email from an unknown source, as it may contain a virus. If you receive a suspicious email, known as a phishing email, purporting to be from your bank, report it. You can also inform your bank directly.
  • Before entering your account details into a website, make sure there is a padlock symbol in or next to the address bar in your browser, and that the web address changes from starting with ‘http’ to ‘https’ – this means the connection is secure.
  • If you have a wireless network at home, make sure you have activated the security settings on your wireless router to make it secure and prevent others accessing it.
  • Avoid accessing your bank account from a public computer or unsecured wireless network. If you do use a public computer, never leave it unattended when logged in and always log out properly when you’ve finished your banking session.
  • If you experience any problems logging in, phone your bank – don’t send an email.
  • Avoid posting personal information such as your email address, date of birth and phone number on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter to reduce the risk of identity theft. Only accept friend requests from people you know. Someone posing as an interesting person asking to become your friend may actually be an ID thief. Check your privacy settings carefully and make sure only people you trust can view your profile.
  • Regularly check your bank account and statements for suspicious transactions. If you spot something unfamiliar, report it to your bank or card provider as soon as you can.

I’m very careful about receipts and check my account at least once a week, not monthly as before.

Many said they keep a much closer eye on bank statements and take the time to shred address details on envelopes and packaging. A few have now signed up for extra text alerts for low balances and large transactions.

Others have cancelled cards they don’t use and reduced the credit limits to keep potential losses to a minimum.

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