3 tips for wallet safety and computer defence

Recently we ran a Facebook competition asking what was riskier, losing your wallet/purse or getting a virus on your computer. The results are in! Overall, the most entries nominated a virus as being the most risky, but still 44% opted for losing their wallet/purse. So, here are our top three tips for each situation, protecting your wallet and protecting yourself from electronic viruses. Stay safe!

Three tips to protect your wallet

1. Set up a wallet register

Complete a list of all your cards etc. that you carry in your wallet, and keep it in a safe place that’s easily accessible (like on your phone plus a hard copy elsewhere). Make sure you record as much information as possible, including the contact number you need to call if that card is lost or stolen. Make sure you also diarise to check this list every 6 months or so, to ensure any new cards/ changed credit card details are up-to-date. This list is gold to you if your wallet is stolen, or a card has been taken/gone missing because you won’t have to rack your brains trying to remember and it will help you contact the card issuers urgently to have them cancelled.

2. Get an RFID Blocking Wallet or card protector

With the advanced technology of Visa Pay Wave and MasterCard Pay Pass, it is now possible to simply tap your card to pay. Unfortunately this means that it is possible for a tech savvy thief to touch your wallet with a similar device and obtain your card payment information. So to protect your wallet you can now buy blocking wallets or card protectors which promote the ability to block out transmissions thus preventing your details being stolen.

3. Keep your wallet in a zipped pocket or zipped bag/use a wallet chain

Thieves and pickpockets will go for the easiest target. If they can see a wallet poking out of a pocket, or a purse sitting within reach of an open handbag, that will be their first choice. So be vigilant at all times and ensure your wallet is not in view and well secured. Using a wallet chain is also a great idea as it does serve as an additional deterrent.

3 Tips to protect your online security

1. Use up-to-date security software and be aware of scams

It is essential that your computer has the latest security software and operating system updates. Often Banks will provide such information so if you don’t know where to start, try your Bank or a trustworthy computer professional. Scammers also continue to become more sophisticated, so it is very important to regularly check what the latest scams are (which you can do by going to www.scamwatch.gov.au) and keep informed with current media reports.

2. Use strong passwords/ regularly change passwords and pins

It is frustrating to continuously change passwords and pins, but remind yourself that scammers and identity stealers are relying on our laziness so they can easily hack our personal information. It is essential to use strong passwords (longer, with capitals, lower case, numerals and symbols) so sit down and work out a system that helps you and makes it easier to remember. We saw a great idea from Edward Snowden which may help. He said the best strategy is to “shift your thinking from passWORDS to passPHRASES,” so think of phrases that are common to you, but they are long and unlikely to be in the dictionary. It is harder for a computer to guess them and easy for you to remember. Here’s an example; “vegemiteandcheeseis110%YUM” Worst case is that if you forget your password, you can easily request another one to be sent - a far better option than losing your money and/or identity.

3. Only use secure sites when shopping online and don’t save your credit card details

If you’re going to shop online, limit yourself to secure sites. You can tell if a site is secure by the URL. A secure web site starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://. Secure sites will also have a small lock icon in the corner of the screen. Also, many online stores offer the ability for you to save your credit card details for future use. The risk here is that if that store has a data breach, then your details can be stolen. So don’t allow your details to be stored on a server you have no control over, just be safe and enter your card details each time you wish to purchase something. Well, we hope these tips will help you keep both your wallet and your computer safe. To finish, here is the winning entry for the Facebook competition we ran, we think it was very clever! Computer Virus. Heaps of personal info At their fingertips. Codes, passwords, Kids photos, Even videos. IDs stolen, leaving me feeling Dreadfully sick.

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"Very helpful and friendly!"

Andrew, November 2016