We take your online security very seriously and are committed to keeping your data and your money safe.

Every day, millions of us share information online – to pay bills, shop, and keep in touch with friends.  We should all take steps to keep our information secure, so to help you do this we’ve put together these handy tips for protecting yourself online.

COVID-19 online security update

Unfortunately, fraudsters are using the uncertainty of the pandemic to launch new online scams aimed at getting people to part with their money. Often targeting those who are more vulnerable or susceptible to being scammed, fraudsters are getting ever more sophisticated.

We’ve put together a list of helpful resources, which you can use in addition to our existing tips, to help you keep your money safe. We would urge all members to be extra vigilant for scams.

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has put together a list of common COVID-19 scams to look out for. Visit the FCA website
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides information for individuals, businesses, and other organisations on all aspects of cyber security. Topics include protecting your data, how to report a cyber crime, what to do if your passwords or banking details have been stolen, and how to use video conferencing securely. Visit the NCSC website
  • Take Five to Stop Fraud is a campaign urging the public to stop and think before making financial transactions. They have lots of useful examples of COVID-19 specific online, phone and doorstep scams, as well as useful advice on how to avoid these. Visit the Take-Five website
  • If you want to test your knowledge of phishing scams, Google has created this 5-minute quiz to let you know what to look out for. Take the quiz

Install good antivirus software on all devices you use to access the internet

This type of software checks for malicious computer programmes and viruses and will warn you against opening suspicious looking files.  It’s important to keep your antivirus software up to date to make sure you’re protected against the most recent viruses.  Also, always use the latest version of your web browser (i.e. Google Chrome or Internet Explorer), which will incorporate the latest security features.

Before entering any personal details, make sure you’re using a secure website

Here are some ways to check if a website is secure:

  • Look for ‘https’ at the start of the website address – the ‘s’ stands for secure
  • Make sure there is a closed padlock symbol in the browser window (next to the https website address)
  • The address bar (or part of it) may be green, which is an extra sign that you’re using a safe website
  • Check the website you are using doesn’t have misspellings or bad grammar in its addresses. This could indicate a copycat of the legitimate website.

Look out for phishing, vishing and smishing scams

Phishing is when fraudsters send emails made to look like they come from a genuine financial company.  Vishing and smishing are the phone and text equivalents. These scams will ask for confirmation of your personal details and can look and sound very authentic, often linking to convincing looking websites.

If you ever receive an unexpected email, text or call like this, don’t click on any links or open attachments, and never enter give out your personal details.  Contact the genuine company directly to query the email, text or call.  Use a separate internet browser to search for their official website and customer support contact details.

General good practice 

  • Never share your PIN, passwords or other confidential information
  • When creating a password, stay away from words and dates that might be easy for a fraudster to find out (such as mother’s maiden name or your date of birth). It’s best to use a mix of random numbers, special characters and letters in upper and lower case
  • Always look for a company’s contact details on their website. Reputable companies will have a postal address and contact phone number displayed
  • Never open a suspicious looking email or email attachment. For example, an email from an unknown sender, one that has an oddly worded subject heading, or an attachment that you aren’t expecting (even if the email is from an address you recognise).

We’re committed to helping members, local organisations, and employers to increase financial awareness and security in the community.
If you have any questions or would like help with any of our services, please contact us on 0141 274 9933.