Internet scams and fraud are rife. What can you do to protect yourself?

Girl and computer

Oh, I yearn for the good old days, when robbers had to pickpocket you in the street, or sedate your dog before ransacking the home.

They’re now so lazy, they pillage our finances from their own home – in Russia, Turkmenistan, or the Congo. So impersonal.

I became a victim of internet credit card fraud before I even had an email address.

It was 1998 and, according to my credit card statement, I’d bought CDs in Los Angeles, plus, apparently, saucy adult products in Germany and Holland.

The bank accepted that I was (then) a luddite, incapable of buying anything via a computer and refunded me.

A few years later, another bank called and said our cards had been “compromised”. They had to issue new ones, which would take two weeks. It was a few days before Christmas. Awesome timing. Lean festive season.

Needless to say, I read every credit card statement.

While reading bank statements is important, defend your personal information, like a parent would defend their children.

Don’t publicise too much on Facebook, such as being away, or your birthdate. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software current. Use your junk mail folders properly.

Change your passwords regularly. And don’t make them so obvious as your birthday (particularly if your date of birth is on social media). And if you have a written list of passwords, have it well hidden and protected.

As for those emailed offers of shares of multi-millions from foreigners’ estates who have “named” you in their will … oh, puh-lease! Seriously? Have a laugh, before sending them to the junk box.

Bruce Brammall is the principal adviser with Bruce Brammall Financial ( and author of Mortgages Made Easy.


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