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WEEKLY FRAUD UPDATE FROM WEST MERCIA POLICE - ECONOMIC CRIME UNIT - 22/04/2024

World Password Day was created to raise awareness for the critical need for good, strong Passwords. With the increasing occurrences of online security threats, and the opportunities to steal your identity, creating strong and diverse passwords is essential. So, use that day to look at and, where possible, improve your own passwords starting with your email accounts.

 

What’s in your Inbox?Take a look through your email inboxes – personal and work ones – to see what personal and other confidential information is in there. Remember that once a fraudster has access to your email account, they can access other personal accounts, and often be able to change your password to gain access to those as well.

 

How can you protect your email account passwords ?The latest Government statistics show that only 35% of people in the UK are following advice to use strong passwords made up of  3 random words.

To increase your own security and online safety, using a password made up of 3 random words e.g. applepenfish, creates a stronger password. this can then be made more complex by adding symbols or numbers.

Always avoid using the same password for every account, and especially birthdays, family names, pet names or your football team. “Password” and “123456”, which head up the list of most common passwords, should never, never be used.  

Also:

•    Make sure you use a different password for your email – and also every online account you have whether it is financial services, online shopping or social media platforms. This is because if you do use the same login details, and one of your accounts is compromised or the website hacked, criminals have easy access to all your accounts.

•    Where offered, use two-factor authentication (2FA / MFA) to confirm that you are actually you. The site you are logging into will send you a PIN by email or text which you need to enter in order to gain access.                                        •    Don’t log in to your email or other confidential online services when using unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots. This could be intercepted by either unsecured or fake Wi-Fi, capturing your details.

•    Can’t remember all those passwords? You’re in good company … most people can’t. Use a reputable password manager which not only stores all your passwords in one place, but can also help you set up secure passwords that are difficult to guess or crack.                                            •    Last but not least: it may sound obvious, but don’t share your email or any other passwords with anybody else, however reliable or trustworthy you believe them to be.


Take Five to Stop Fraud

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe. CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

ALWAYS REMEMBER:


•    Avoid disclosing security details


•    Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic


•    Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number 


•    Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests


•    Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams


If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number - 159 - to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks

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