Callcredit supports National Personal Safety Day

National safety dayCallcredit is supporting National Personal Safety Day, on 8 October 2012, and this year's theme is 'Tech No Chances', which will focus on every-day steps you can take to stay safe when using modern technology.

An annual event, National Personal Safety Day is aimed at raising awareness of the simple solutions that everyone can use to help live safer and more confident lives.  Millions of people in the UK use technology and when it comes to personal safety this can be of great benefit - mobile phones can be peace of mind for parents wanting to know where their child is.  However there can be risks connected with some technology especially with the increase of online spending, gambling and the use of social networking sites.

Many children have almost unlimited access to the internet via fixed and increasingly via mobile devices. A report undertaken in 2010 by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety highlighted that more than four in five young people aged five-15 accessed the internet at home, often in their bedroom and without parental supervision. Two thirds of 12-15 year olds and around a quarter of eight-11 year olds regularly used social networking sites and around one in 13 children aged 11-16 were persistently cyberbullied in the last year.

Owen Roberts, Head of Callcredit Check at Callcredit Information Group said: "It is important to know how to stay safe when using the internet.  In an era of technological innovation it is no surprise that fraud is an increasing problem - The National Fraud Authority (NFA) estimate that fraud now costs the UK economy £73bn a year.  Not only do consumers run the risk of identity theft but there are also other dangers associated with the internet such as social networking sites and the anonymity that the internet brings. It is ever more important to stay vigilant when online be it purchasing goods, socialising or just being aware of the potential threats that are out there."

In support of this year's campaign credit and fraud experts Callcredit Information Group gives ten top tips to being safe online to ensure that technology is working for and not against the consumer. 

1. Personal details - Do not give out information such as your name, address or phone number on the internet and never share your online passwords. Never send your bank details to anyone in an email. Banks and online stores will never ask you to do this as it is not a secure way of sending information.

2. Social networking sites - Social networks have grown in popularity but there are a few things to remember:

  • think carefully before adding someone to your list of online friends or posting information
  • once you've shared something online you have lost control of it
  • people may still be able to see things you've posted online, months or years later
  • some people may use what you've posted online in ways you don't like - or couldn't even imagine.

3. Protect yourself against online threats - When creating passwords use a mixture of letters, symbols and numbers - rather than something someone may guess.

Think carefully about meeting someone in the real world who you only know online. 

4. Keeping children safe online - Put in place parental controls, these can be put in place on computers and other digital technologies like games consoles and mobile phones.  This can give you control over blocking selected websites and email addresses as well as preventing your child from searching certain words. Internet service providers (ISP) or mobile phone operators may also offer other child safety measures.

5. 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' - Familiarise yourself with   The UK Council for Child Internet Safety's (UKCCIS) Click Clever, Click Safe code, designed to give parents the confidence to be able to help their children enjoy the internet safely and help children and young people understand how their online experiences can expose them to risks.

For more information visit: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Yourchildshealthandsafety/Internetsafety/DG_184912

6. Check that the site you're buying from is secure and that it uses encryption - If the address bar says 'https' instead of 'http', and if there is a locked padlock symbol in the bottom corner of the screen, that means your payment details will be encrypted.

If you've not used the site before, look for a contact address and phone number - Even if the site looks secure, there is still no guarantee who is on the 'other side' of the screen.

7. Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date - Although on its own this won't fully protect you from online fraudsters, anti-virus software is a vital first line of defence.

8. Avoid accessing sites through unsolicited emails - Scammers sometimes set up fake websites designed to look like the real thing, then encourage unsuspecting shoppers to visit through 'phishing' emails. Always check the address of the site you're visiting before you make any purchases.

9. If in doubt, don't use the site - Even if you think you are getting a bargain you could be gambling more than you realise. Once your details have been compromised there is no telling what they can be used for. If the offer looks too good to be true, steer clear.

10. Check your credit report for suspicious activity - Providing you with a vital record of all your financial commitments your credit report can often be the first place suspicious activity is flagged up. If your report shows any accounts or addresses that aren't yours, contact the credit report provider, who will provide help and support to get this put right.

For further information on National Personal Safety day visit: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/personal-safety/national-personal-safety-day-2012/