Being safer online: A report on presentations to U3A members

Friday 7th February

“Everyone who uses the internet is responsible for their own security on line”

 This was the stark warning given by Kay Bainbridge, Victim Care and Crime Prevention Officer for West Yorkshire Police, at a presentation aimed at ‘staying safe on line’.

Addressing 140 members of Ilkley & District U3A in the Clarke Foley Centre, Ilkley, she stressed it is up to internet users to do due diligence to avoid falling victim to fraud. ‘You must realise you will not get your money back if you give it away willingly’.

Kay Bainbridge addresses the audience
In WestKay Bainbridge addresses the audience Yorkshire, there are between 900 and 1200 victims of fraud a month. One of the most common is ‘phishing’ where fraudsters try to to obtain your details to defraud you. This can be via mobile phones, landlines, computers, postal mail and door to door. Stay vigilant and in the case of a cold call, put the ‘phone down.

Other forms include Romance Fraud, a form of grooming, where the fraudster attempts to inveigle their way into your trust; Investment Fraud, making an offer that sounds too good to miss; Courier Fraud where you could be conned to pay money out on your doorstep, and Recovery Fraud where they will try to persuade you to pay out more money to correct an earlier fraud.

In answer to a question from the attentive audience, Kay Bainbridge said the safest way to transfer cash was by using a Credit Card or Pay Pal. She advised anyone affected by fraud to contact the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre on 0300 123 2040.

                                                                                                                                                         Stuart Hyde, CFC Chairman

Stuart Hyde, CFC Chairman and a former Chief Constable, demonstrated how social media and the Stuart Hyde, CFC Chairman

internet affects all aspects of and assists in our busy lives today. Almost anything can be connected to the internet, with six uses of it being utilised by each person.

He said this made us all vulnerable, but the problem ‘is in the chair, not the computer’, meaning it is up to us, the user, to stay safe on line. Every time we use the internet we leave a ‘digital footprint’ in the form of our personal details and interests which can all be used to ‘sell us stuff’.

 Nearly every person has been hacked or scammed, he warned, and went on to give these pieces of advice: don’t click on things that sound too good; update your software; use a secure password and keep it to yourself; back up your contents and check your bank account frequently. Remember: ‘If it sounds too good, it usually is!’

Bevan Yates of local IT Company Cactus IT, stressed the importance of checking for updates on line, especially for Apps, and to run the latest version of software. Pin codes and strong, secure passwords of no fewer than six digits were essential. For additional security, passwords can be held in a ‘digital vault’ or using a password manager. It was vital not to have passwords openly on view where they might be copied on a camera phone by an opportunist fraudster.

‘Juice jacking’ is a new type of fraud where you might be tempted to charge your mobile ‘phone at a free-standing charging point, only to find your personal details have been siphoned off. Only use a secure accredited charging point, he advised. Beware unsecured wi-fi which can make your details available to all and sundry.

Don’t open unknown emails, just delete them, the general rule being ‘Trust no one’.