A salutary tale from Coronation Street

February 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

In an episode broadcast last week, Coronation Street character Gail was conned out of £40,000 in an internet banking scam. According to the Payments’ Council this could have been avoided if she had followed the seven golden security rules.

Sadly Gail is not alone in being so lax with her security. Indeed, according to a survey conducted by the consumer education campaign PayYourWay 75% of us use the same password for more than one account and 33% of us share log-in information with someone else. Even if this is a family member, that is no guarantee that the information will not fall into the wrong hands as Gail found out to her cost.

Here is a quick reminder of the seven golden rules of internet banking safety:

  • Never use the same password more than once so that if it falls into the wrong hands the damage is limited.
  • Update your passwords from time to time.
  • If you are worried about having to remember all these different passwords use a password manager to manage them. If you do need to write passwords down, disguise them.
  • Think about your security questions. Could someone else find out the answers using Twitter or Facebook?
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date and ignore any requests for security information purporting to be from your bank.
  • To make it difficult for a crook to guess your password use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols e.g. C@RiS385
  • Avoid names of family members or pets, birthdays, street names, etc and get creative! One ingenuous way suggested by the Payments Council is to take the first line of a song and string together the initial letters of each word.

For more detailed advice on security issues go to the PayYourWay website.

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