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Photo of a pocket being picked.
Kate Sumbler ‘Pickpocket’

Expert advice on protecting your money

Here are some top tips from our payments week experts, based on what they do to keep their own money safe from the fraudsters.

  1. Spread your risk across multiple bank accounts. Having several bank accounts that you use for different things e.g. grocery, ATM withdrawals, online purchases, large purchases (household / electronics). This means that if one card is compromised you don’t lose all your savings. They also make it easy for you, and the bank’s fraud detection algorithms, to spot unusual activity on any given account.

  2. Don’t have a card that accesses your savings account. Keep a bank account reserve that is not accessible from the cards in your wallet. If this account has a card - cut it up.

  3. Never put your whole wallet/purse on the contactless reader. The contactless readers used for buses and trains can read your credit/debit cards.

  4. Minimise the number of online retailers where you enter your credit card details. There is a more detailed section on staying safe online coming up, however, a good simple rule is that reducing the number of places where you reveal your credit/debit card details online also reduces your risk. Using an online wallet such as PayPal or Google wallet means you only put your credit card details into one website thereby reducing your risk.

  5. Cash is a good way to limit your risk. Carrying a small amount of cash for incidentals allows you the leave your credit/debit cards safe at home. Situations such as a day at the beach or a night out, carry a small amount of cash and a single debit card to do ATM withdrawals as required.

  6. Use bank ATMs in well lit areas, preferably in the lobby of the bank if this option is available. Avoid free standing ATMs in convenience stores and bars as they can be hacked. Always be willing to pull on the card slot of any ATMs you are about to use to look for skimming devices. If you do find a skimmer leave it and the ATM as the criminals are usually not far away.

  7. Do not respond to unsolicited emails or phone calls which request your financial details or login passwords / PIN. Never give out your PIN, not when called, nor when asked in person.

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This article is from the free online course:

Cyber Security: Safety at Home, Online, in Life

Newcastle University

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