From savvy shopping to strong passwords: 7 tips to avoid identity fraud

Stay safe online from fraudsters. Follow our simple tips to protect your identity this summer.

Fraudsters don’t take a break, so whether you’re shopping, posting on social media, checking emails or setting up accounts on your gadgets, take steps to protect your identity and avoid fraud.

Identity theft is when your account details are fraudulently used to buy goods. As well as causing financial loss, it can affect your credit rating, not to mention causing you stress and upset. Don't panic though, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Keep on reading to find out more.

[Read more: 10 ways BT’s free software keeps you safe online]

Tip 1: Stay safe with security software

BT has teamed up with the best security experts in the world to bring free products for our broadband customers to help you stay safe.

  • BT Web Protect warns you if you are about to visit a known harmful website, so you can avoid viruses, scams and phishing attacks. It works whenever you are connected to your BT Smart Hub or using a BT Wi-Fi hotspot. You don't need to download anything, you just need to activate it. Turn on BT Protect
  • BT Virus Protect is free anti-virus software developed in conjunction with McAfee that protects up to 15 of your devices, including PCs, Macs, Android phones and tablets against viruses, spyware and will warn you against email scams. Download BT Virus Protect

Picture of weak and strong passwords on paper

Tip 2: Use a strong password

Make sure you choose a separate password for your email. The video below includes some useful tips to help you choose a strong one.

If you struggle to remember passwords for all your accounts a password manager can help. BT Broadband customers can use one called True Key, which generates and securely stores up to 2000 passwords for your accounts and apps, so you only need to remember one Master Password.

True Key works across PCs, smartphones (via an app), tablets and computers and information is synced across all devices, so you can access your password info whateve you are using.

Tip 3: Be careful where you shop

Shop from retailers you trust and look for signs that a site is encrypted – such as a padlock icon - before entering credit card details.

Tip 4:  Check your bank account regularly

With online banking and apps, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your expenditure. Make sure you’ve provided the correct contact information – that way your bank can get in touch with you if necessary.

Tip 5: Look out for emails scams

Keep an eye out for emails or texts messages requesting personal information – they could be scams, such as these targeting Amazon users.

Padlock around credit card

Tip 6: Register for CIFAS protective registraton if you've been a victim of identity theft

If you think you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud you can place a flag on your credit report with CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service. Its Protective Registration service flags your information in the National Fraud Database. Companies that are signed to the database will see you are at risk and take extra steps to protect you, including making extra checks on new credit applications.

Tip 7: Don’t overshare on Social Media

This tip is slightly different to the ones above, but well worth being aware of this summer. If you are going away be careful what you document on Facebook or Twitter. Yes, it’s nice letting your friends share in your excitement and see your holiday photos, but if your account isn’t private, you’ve just let total strangers know that you are away and your house is empty.

Find out how we keep you safe online

Check out BT.com/scams for more advice on protecting yourself from fraudsters.

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