.
COTA
Banner blog
It's an Online World - Stay Safe

It's an Online World - Stay Safe

23/5/2017

How engaged are you with today's digital world?

As older Australians, it is fair to say that you have seen times change immensely and rapidly, especially in the last decade or two. Sixty years ago, the only screens that most Australians could access were found in a cinema but now they are everywhere - TVs, phones, computers, laptops, even watches have screens!

Many of you would have been in your 40s or older before consumer access to dial-up internet became the ‘norm' in most homes around the mid-1990s, so some of you might struggle with the uptake of the digital world around you - while others have embraced it with open arms.

Now, with so many daily tasks transitioning towards new online capacities - you can even do your food shopping using a computer now - understanding how you can use technology can be invaluable...

It can be a brilliant tool! You can use the internet to stay in touch with family and friends, be updated with the latest news, make appointments, organise travel arrangements, do your banking, buy things like insurance and catch up on TV shows... The list seems to be endless. However, it does come with its risks.

It isn't just your physical safety that you need to protect but now, more than ever, the focus needs to shift to understanding and knowing how to protect and prevent yourself from becoming a victim to the very real dangers of things such as identity theft, scams or fraud.

By following a few simple tips, you can safeguard your digital wellbeing:

What's the password?

Passwords. We seem to have them for everything these days and the importance of creating a secure one can often be underestimated. If someone was to access your banking password, you could be vulnerable to fraudulent activity which is far from ideal. Remember these handy points when creating a new password:

• Ensure you pick something that you will remember
• Use a minimum of eight characters
• Mix upper and lower case letters
• Include at least one number
• You could even add a symbol
• Carefully follow any instructions provided
• Don't use the same password for more than one account

Sharing isn't caring

Sharing is a lovely sentiment but in the case of your passwords, this is not something that you want to do. You should keep them private and try and remember to change them at least twice a year.

Get secure

Ensuring that you have installed (and continue to renew) security software is a must. The software will help protect your computer from potential viruses that can be sent through emails or opened in certain websites. Better to be safe and secure, than sorry.

Think before you click

Criminals will often send emails that look like they have come from a legitimate organisation, such as a financial institution, in order to obtain sensitive information including usernames, passwords or credit card details. You should always be very wary of clicking on any links if you do receive an email like this and call the organisation to see if the email is legitimate before sharing any information.

If in doubt, don't proceed to checkout

It pays to be smart about your online payments and transactions. If something doesn't feel right - whether it be that the website looks suspicious or unprofessional (i.e. spelling errors) or maybe the offers are too good to be true (in most cases they probably are) - then it is best not to proceed. You can do a few things to ensure that your payments are as safe as possible, but remember these don't guarantee that a website operator is legitimate or the payment process is secure. Here are ways to improve your security:

• Ensure that you are on a secure page - the URL should start with https
• Is there a padlock or key visible in the browser? If not, exit the site!
• Double check that the website address is completely correct and not just similar to the legitimate website

Like a lot of things in life, online safety cannot be guaranteed but if you educate yourself and put secure practices in place, then you can ensure that you are in a position to hopefully avoid being the victim of any criminal activity.

Want to know more? Head to https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/ for further tips, information, plus up to date alerts of current issues and scams.

This is a guest post from COTA SA Organisational Member, Police Credit Union. To find out how you can do better than the banks head to policecu.com.au/ #BetterBanking

And don't forget to follow Police Credit Union on Facebook.

Police Credit Union Ltd ABN 30 087 651 205 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238991.