According to the UK Payment Council, a forthcoming storyline in Coronation Street, featuring long-haired Lothario Lewis Archer (played by Nigel Havers) and Gail Platt (played by E.T.), could easily be avoided if Gail was to employ some simple online banking security measures.
In the soap, conman Lewis secretly prints off Gail’s bank details from her computer, before blackmailing her daughter-in-law, Kylie, into revealing her mum’s login details and password. Lewis then uses this information to withdraw £40,000 from Gail’s account.
Apparently, 1 in 3 of us share our online banking details with others, whilst 3 in 4 of us use the same password for more than one online account.
In the case of Corrie, it would have been pretty simple for Gail to avoid Lewis getting his slimy hands on her money; keep her details to herself, and if you have to write down the details, store it in a way that no-one else could work out.
The Payment Council also had the following tips for keeping your online bank accounts secure:
- Be unique – For really important accounts like online banking or email, make sure that you never use the same password, or even a variation of that original password more than once. That way, if the password is compromised, the damage is restricted.
- Change it – if you’ve been using the same passwords for years, it’s definitely time to update them.
- Cheat! – You could use a password manager to manage all your passwords. This is a piece of software that creates random, hard-to-guess passwords for each site you visit – meaning you only need to remember one single, master password to access them all. Use the tips below to make your master password difficult to guess but easy to remember.
- Be discreet – don’t tell anyone else your password(s). And if you need to write it down, disguise it. Also, think about any personal details that you use as responses to security questions. Social networking means more of our lives than ever are public knowledge – it’s always worth asking yourself ‘could anyone else know this answer?’
- Be suspicious – Update you anti-virus software regularly and don’t respond to unsolicited emails, text messages or calls that ask you for your security details – it could be a criminal trying to get hold of your passwords.
- Mix it up – use a mixture of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. This vastly increases the difficulty of guessing or cracking your password.
- Be creative – Avoid names, birthdays or common words. A good way to create a long, easy to remember password is to string together the first letters of a song lyric, phrase, or even better, a sentence known only to you. For example, ‘The Grand Old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men’ could give a password of ‘TGODoYhh10000m!’
- How Long Would It Take To Crack Your Password? (February 10, 2011)
- Student Loan Email Scam (September 22, 2010)
- HSBC Secure Key For Personal Internet Banking (March 10, 2011)
- BBC Click: Hackers Outwit Bank Security (February 3, 2012)
- Comparison Site Security Questioned (September 1, 2010)