10 TIPS IN PREVENTING ONLINE FRAUD

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How safe is your business?

According to the latest figures from the RSA Anti-Fraud Command Centre (www.rsa.com), South Africa received the third highest number of phishing attacks in the world during March 2011, and the South African Fraud Prevention Service (www.safps.org.za) reports that in the last three years, 56 000 cases of attempted and confirmed Internet fraud have been reported. Here are her top ten online anti-fraud tips:

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #1: POWER UP YOUR PASSWORD

If you think ‘password’ is a password, then read on! “Always use different passwords for the sites you use, never write your passwords down or send it by email and remember to change them every few months,” . Here are her essential dos and don’ts for adding muscle to your password:

–          Don’t choose a word – hackers use programs which try out every word in the dictionary.

–          Don’t use your name or your company name.

–          Do use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

–          Do ensure your password is at least 7 characters long.

–          Do link your password to a memorable phrase to make it easy to remember.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #2: STAY IN CHECK

Keep track of your personal and business bills and statements and check them against receipts. “It may be time-consuming, but the peace of mind gained is immeasurable.”

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #3: IF YOU THINK ITS SPAM, DELETE IT!

Never open spam emails, delete them immediately. Consider using two email addresses,  one for people you know, the other – which should include no identifying features – for all other purposes.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #4: GET SHREDDING

Your rubbish is a goldmine to a potential criminal so make sure you, and your staff, destroy any paperwork with your own, or your companies, details on it. Use a cross-cut shredder, which cuts paper into tiny pieces before recycling, and don’t forget to shred your CDs and DVDs, too.

 

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #5: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DEALING WITH?

Only interact with companies you can verify. To confirm the owner of a website and to find out when it was launched, visit www.whois.domaintools.com. If you want to trace the location of the sender of an email try www.whatismyipaddress.com

 

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #6: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT

If you’re planning to upgrade your computers, ensure all sensitive information is wiped off the old ones before disposing of them.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #7: PHISHING, SMISHING, VISHING…

Ensure you’re never on the wrong end of a phishing scam: if you are directed to a website from an email, always compare the link in the email to the link you are directed to, and if you are banking online, type in your bank’s website in full. Smishing is the use of SMSs to trap unsuspecting cyber-crime victims – it is never okay to give out personal information via SMS. Vishing is when someone sends an SMS stating that a bank official will contact you to update your details. You will then receive a call from the ‘official’. “Hang up immediately and inform your bank.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #8: WHAT’S YOUR POLICY?

Ensure everyone in your company is aware of the risks of identity fraud and how to handle sensitive information, and don’t forget to revoke any access that ex-employees might have had.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #9: GET INSURED

For added security, consider taking out identity theft protection from your insurance company.

ANTI-FRAUD TIP #10: DON’T BE A RECKLESS NETWORKER

If you’re using social networking sites to build your company brand or to network, familiarise yourself with, and use, the privacy features. Always use a strong password, and remember: never publish your phone number or BBM pin online.

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