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How to help ensure your savings are safe from cyberhackers.

To those of a certain generation the menace emanating from Russia was enormous nuclear missiles assuring our destruction. Nowadays it is cyberhackers that threaten to take us back to the Stone Age.

Horrible, frightening stories have emerged in recent weeks of Russian hackers taking £650m from bank accounts and from financial institutions by inserting the computer equivalent of Ebola virus into their networks.

But should you worry? Well, a bit. On the one hand there is a clear and present danger that fraudsters much cleverer than you will, almost certainly, make attempts to get their hands on your hard-earned cash. On the other hand, there is a near-infallible guardian of your savings which can be deployed pretty much a 100 per cent of the time to ensure their safety.

And it is called ‘Common Sense”.

Looking down the list of imaginative scams the hackers have used over the years leads one to believe that the cautious and sensible individuals are the best protected.

The “courier” scam say, where you are called or messaged there is a problem with your card or your bank account. When you ring it, the scammer is still on the line meaning you can’t make a new call and you are persuaded to give up your bank details. Answer: Your provider will know your details and ask you the security questions you have set. If in the slightest doubt, hang up, switch the phone off and on again and then get in touch with your bank.

Spoofing, say where you are sent unsolicited emails, known as ‘phishing’ or ‘vishing’ inviting you to part company with some of your vital information. Answer: Your provider will never send you unsolicited emails – Don’t read them, just delete. If you are in doubt, get in touch. Cold Call Image

And, be sensible - in this day and age you wouldn’t leave your wallet or your diary open in a public place and walk off so don’t leave yourself logged on to Wi-Fi when you are not using it, someone could well be watching.

Don’t write down passwords and don’t use really obvious ones like your middle name or a child’s birthday – be oblique, where was our favourite holiday, for example? No-one in legitimate business asks for your bank account details unless you want to buy their goods or services. Full stop.

It is very simple, if in doubt, ring up your provider. Honestly, they will be grateful to hear from you because they want to avoid financial Armageddon as much as you do.

See, what’s there to worry about?

Stephen McDowell

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