The last decade has seen unprecedented change in terms of how we manage our lives and finances. Banking on line or using an app on a ‘phone is now the norm, and more than £1 in every £5 is spent online (Office of National Statistics) – so it’s not surprising that criminals are following the money.
Some recent headlines underline the costs:
“5 million pension savers could lose out to scammers” (FCA)
“Over a quarter of a million phishing attempts reported in the last 12 months” (GetSafeOnline.org)
“Amazon Prime scam costs victims over £400,000 in two months” Action Fraud
“Over £27m reported lost investment scams” (GetSafeOnline.org)
The costs of cyber-crime are massive, and growing – some commentators estimate that globally, hackers now earn more than drug dealers!
How to manage the risk?
There are a range of simple common sense measures which can help reduce your cyber risk. Some examples include:
- Always question calls, texts or emails requesting any personal or financial details, and in particular information regarding passwords or PIN numbers. Fraudsters can be sophisticated, researching targets on social media before pretending to be a person or organisation their victim knows (a “phishing” attack).
If in doubt contact the company or person directly using a known email or phone number.
- Make sure you install up-to-date anti-virus software to make it harder for hackers to access your computer.
- Protect your online accounts with a strong password and don’t use the same password for more than one account.
- Never click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
- When shopping online, always check the web address to make sure you are on the correct site and sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option.
- Always check credit card and bank statements for payments you don’t recognise. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things that you haven’t bought investigate - your identity may have been stolen.
More information about protecting yourself from cyber crime can be found at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Insurance is not expensive and can provide valuable protection
No matter how careful you are, there is still a chance that you could be caught out by cyber criminals, so it makes sense to consider insurance – after all most people would not decide to give up theft cover in their household policy just because they have secure locks and an alarm!
A good personal cyber policy will provide:
- Expert assistance to help you deal with a cyber-attack, online fraud or identity theft.
- Insurance protection to reimburse financial losses which can’t be recovered.
Speak to your insurance broker for more information about the right policy to meet your needs and budget.