Viruses can infect your computer and cause damage to personal documents or the computer hard drive. They can spread from computer to computer easily. Hackers or software such as spyware can access your computer stealing your personal information. Protecting the security of your computer is fundamental in avoiding fraud.
What to look for:
This is known as phishing, because fraudsters don't actually have your details - they're "phishing" for them. They send you an email that looks like it's from your bank, a company you regularly do business with or a social networking site pretending there's a problem with your account or something similar.
The email will often provide a link to a fake website that looks very similar to a genuine website you use. Here you'll be asked to disclose personal information such as passwords. These could then be used to access details about you and your account. In the wrong hands someone could impersonate you online and buy products in your name.
There's a really simple checks that you can do - look at the address bar at the top of the page. If it doesn't begin https:// then it's not secure and you should not enter any personal details or credit card information.
Attachments from emails can carry viruses. If you download an attachment that carries a virus it can be sent on via your email address book to other people. You may receive an email form someone offering you something that might interest you, such as an attachment containing a photo. This is called a Trojan email and can allow fraudsters to access your programs and files.
Downloading files and images from un-reputable sites could put your computer at risk to a virus. Email attachments may contain hidden viruses - these might be flagged by your email provider as a "Macro-Virus". If you recieve more spam on your computer or, your internet connection is slower than usual, this may indicate Spyware has been downloaded without you knowing. If your internet browser loads a new window with lots of pop ups and banners, again this could indicate a website where Spyware is active.
Always ensure that your Wi-Fi access is secure, preventing hackers from gaining access to your computer via a wireless link.
There are lots of ways you can safeguard yourself against online fraud:
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