Top tips: how to protect yourself

To avoid becoming a victim of online crime you don’t need to be a computer expert. Developing a few good online habits drastically reduces your chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime, makes you less vulnerable and lets you use the web safely.

Protecting your data

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your data:

Get a CIFAS Protective Registration

A Protective Registration places a warning flag against your name and other personal details on a National Fraud Database. This tells any organisation that uses CIFAS data to pay special attention when your details are used to apply for a product or service. We will carry out further due diligence to ensure that all of the details listed on any applications here at Hodge match with the details listed on the protective registration, we may even call you to confirm that you have full knowledge of the application. Click here to visits CIFAS.

Dispose of unwanted cards and statements

Some fraudsters will rummage through rubbish bags looking for thrown out letters in order to obtain details for potential false applications. Keep your details safe by cutting up your old credit/debit cards with scissors, shredding your old and unwanted bank statements and utility bills.

Install Anti-Virus and Firewalls

In the unfortunate event that you’ve accidentally clicked on a link in a phishing email or you have access a website with malicious intent, your next line of defence is your Anti-Virus software.

Some devices will already have this installed, if not, you can search for Anti-Virus Software from certified providers.

Don't share personal information

If you use social media, check the privacy settings so that personal data is protected. Make sure that you don’t share confidential information on social media such as your address or bank account information as this can often be viewed publicly. Take care when uploading photos to these sites too, for example, making sure your bank card or passport information cannot be seen.

Remember that people will make a lot of effort to get hold of your information, so always be careful.

Set strong passwords

Never tell anybody your passwords, don’t write them down or store them somewhere that can be easily accessed, including on your phone.

When creating a password, use a mix of upper and lower case letters, and include numbers and symbols. A passphrase is more secure than just a word. Try a memorable phrase like ‘ilovegoingonholiday’, but swap the letters around and add in numbers to make it harder to guess ‘1lov3go1ng0nHo1idaY!,’.

We’ll never ask you to share your password with us. If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud or hacking, please change the email address and all passwords linked to your Hodge account.

Browse securely

Ensure that you are using a secure Wi-Fi connection, ideally one that isn’t publicly accessible. Look out for the padlock symbol in your browser address bar, this confirms that your connection to the site is secure.

The padlock confirms the connection is safe, but it doesn’t tell you if the website is genuine. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes, or other signs that suggest the site is not real. Phishing sites will often use similar looking characters to imitate genuine sites.