Alex Oppong’s advice on how to stay safe online
Eniko speaks to Alex Oppong, Information Security Consultant about cybercrime and keeping safe online.
- What is the biggest online risk at the moment?
Our biggest risk, I would say that it is almost everywhere. The government has, in many ways, tried to revitalise the economy by providing certain assistance and people are forever looking at different ways that they can support their businesses, or support themselves. So people are going into websites, probably not official websites, but that look official and are putting in their personal details into these websites, which are then being used to defraud. And it is basically really taken advantage of people's tough times. COVID-19 in particular, for all of the clients that I have looked after so far, every single one of them has been related to identity theft.
It is really good that you download one of these apps, either Equifax or Experian, just to make sure that someone isn't using your details in some way to purchase certain goods, and it's going against your credit history or your credit rating.
- What advice would you give people, when they are downloading apps onto their phones and paying online?
Make sure you go to the official websites for any kind of goods or services. Some of them look official. Sometimes, a little nudge of your cursor over the website URL will show you exactly where this website is leading you into.
Any website that has anything related to finance, or anything that's going to take your personal data, always look for that padlock on the URL screen, make sure that it's secure and official
- What would you say if somebody was already a victim? What would you say the first thing should be they do and who they can turn to for help or advice?
I think beyond recording the crime with the police, Action Fraud does that little bit extra, advice you on what your next step should be.
Action Fraud will record it and also provide advice on how to protect your electronic devices. The more information you provide, the more it helps them to work towards trying to get hold of the perpetrators of the fraud.
- So what would you say for people who actually afraid to come out, or to admit that they were victims?
There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to cybercrime. The fact of the matter is, these criminals are always a few steps ahead of us, but if we keep it to ourselves, then we suffer in pain, we suffer in silence. Haringey Council has got its own special unit that deals with information security.
Some people might have psychological after effects, because they might think, “Oh, if I have been hit by something like this, that means that someone might think I am stupid” but that is not the case. The cybercriminals are just devious and they are just thinking about how to do bad things to people, like every other criminal. That is how you have to see.
If you are a victim of cybercrime call the following number 0300 1232040 or report the crime on the Action Fraud website (external link).
Updates on the latest COVID-19 scams in Haringey.
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