Security savvy – how to make sure you’re protected online
Nearly six million cases of fraud and cybercrime are committed every year in the UK, which means that one in ten of us have fallen foul of fraudsters in the past year alone.
Whilst that may be an alarming thought, the reality is that fraud can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most common types of fraud in the last year were “bank and credit account” frauds, with 2.5 million incidents reported. And it’s on the rise.
As part of the on-going battle against fraud, Charter Savings Bank has a number of safeguards to protect your identity and your savings. From keeping personal details safe and secure, to monitoring your account for any unusual activity, we have a range of controls and policies in place as you’d expect from a bank.
For obvious reasons, we can’t publicise these controls but it’s worth pointing out a few important ways you can protect yourself whilst online.
You should only access your Charter Savings Bank account by typing www.chartersavingsbank.co.uk into the address bar – we don’t use any other names or addresses.
When you log in to your account, we will only ask for your User ID and random letters from your password and the memorable details you provided when you opened your account.
There are a number of ways you can spot a copycat website including:
- Don’t automatically use the first website you find through a search engine (such as Google or Bing) - even if the address seems authentic and you’re in a hurry.
- Read the homepage - take a couple of minutes to double-check the site; don’t dive straight into filling out an application form. Visit the homepage and read the text there. It may even say that the site is not officially affiliated with the official body, or it may contain spelling mistakes or use a different style than you’re used to.
- Check the web address - don’t be fooled by a .org web address, as this is no guarantee that it is a body’s official website. Any website claiming to be an official government website should have a .gov.uk address.
Always access Internet Banking by typing the bank address into your web browser (e.g. www.chartersavingsbank.co.uk).
When out and about, always make sure you are using a secure internet connection when logging onto your internet banking, applying for a new account, or doing anything that requires you to hand over personal details.
Never use free public Wi-Fi for banking. Whilst it may seem convenient, it is unlikely to be secure and there may be people monitoring the information being transferred.
The address bar should always have an ‘https’ at the beginning of the address. Although it’s not always a guarantee, you can check for https:// at the beginning of the website address (the ‘s’ is short for ‘secure’) and the padlock symbol.
On pages where you are entering personal information, this indicates that there is encryption in place to protect your personal details; websites just with http:// don’t encrypt your details.
Nominated Account – only one way in and one way out
One of the strongest safeguards for Charter Savings Bank customers is also one of the simplest, and that is to ensure that everyone has a ‘Nominated Account’.
When you open a new savings account with us, we ask you for a Nominated Account (usually people choose their main current account) from which to fund your new savings account. Just as your Nominated Account is the only place from which you can transfer money to Charter Savings Bank, it is also the only place that your savings can be sent back to (for example, when a bond matures or after you’ve given notice on a Notice Account).
This means that even if a fraudster did somehow manage to access your savings (for example, if you didn’t keep your password safe), the only place they could transfer your savings to is back to your own Nominated Account.
Be ‘Password Picky’
When you pick your password, rather than thinking of a single word, consider choosing a memorable phrase and then take the first letter of each word to form your password. For example: My Savings Are Safe With Charter Savings Bank would become MSASWCSB.
Then, change letters to similar looking numbers (‘A’ looks like a ‘4’ and ‘S’ looks like a ‘5’) to make your password M545WC5B.
What looks like random letters and numbers is a lot harder for a fraudster to crack than your old school or the name of your cat. To strengthen your password you should think about mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and adding more numbers, but don’t make it your date of birth, you might be surprised how easy that is for fraudsters to find online.
Personal Information is Personal
Don’t ever give out personal information, through email or over the phone, unless you initiated the conversation and know exactly who you are speaking to. If someone calls you, ask for a number to ring them back on and check with your provider to make sure the number is legitimate.
Fraudsters can also use emails (sometimes called ‘Phishing’) to try and get your personal banking details. This should always raise a red flag: banks are extremely unlikely to ask you to update any information by email. Also avoid clicking any links on emails that are suspicious.
Only visit your bank’s website by entering the address into your browser or using a bookmark which has the correct address.
Build Your Defences
A personal firewall protects your computer and private network from malicious software or malware. Malware can infect your computer and affect it a number of ways. Perhaps the most risky to your banking security is the spying software that can infect your computer or network.
Antivirus software should help protect you from this, as will being vigilant about any unusual emails you may receive.
To some people, all this might seem a bit difficult or intimidating but it’s mainly common sense. After all, you wouldn’t dream of giving sensitive information to a stranger in the street just because they asked nicely and seemed to be trustworthy. If you’re in any doubt or think your security has been compromised in any way, just give us a call and let us know so that we can help you.
There are plenty of online resources providing helpful tips on security and all aspects of online safety, not just banking.
And in the meantime, please remember: set a Nominated Account, choose a strong password, keep it secret and be alert.