Be Clued-up on the dangers of money and online financial management, can ensure that your money is safe and secure. Being knowledgeable about the sites to use.

We hope to provide you with some hints and tips to keep you safe when purchasing online and managing your money during your studies here at the University of Aberdeen. The tips below are for your own Personal Computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. All University PC’s have up to date software that protects them against any virus threat. However, if you do think that there is an issue with the PC you are using then you should contact the service desk providing details of the computer name (found on the bottom right hand corner of the screen on your desktop) or via MyIT.

  • Install Trusteer Rapport
    Get an extra layer of protection when you bank online. Installing Trusteer Rapport is free and is easy to install and use. It works with the security software you already have to make online banking safer. Visit the Trusteer website to download and find out more information.
  • Install anti-virus software
    Anti-virus software protects you, your privacy and your money. Viruses can steal personal information, take over your PC, pop up unwanted adverts and they can even use your computer to attack other people’s computers. Viruses can also be known as malware, Trojans, spyware or adware. An anti-virus package can protect you from all of these. The software you choose to install will be updated automatically to ensure it is protecting you against the newest threats. You can download Microsoft Security Essentials (free for personal use) or McAfee Virus Scan Plus.
  • Update your browser
    Modern browser software adds protection against fake websites, they will tend to warn you if you are visiting a site that does not appear to be genuine.
  • Keep your software up-to-date
    It is much harder for viruses to infect updated software. The criminals who create viruses take advantage of software bugs to infect computers.
  • Don’t share private information online
    This may seem like common sense but check your privacy settings for your social media accounts as you may not realise what you are sharing with the world.
  • Look after your paper statements
    If you do need to destroy any of your paper bank statements then it is advisable to shred the documents before recycling. This reduces the risk of anyone being able to access your personal details.
  • Understand how criminals use the internet
    Criminals who use the internet are always in it for the money. No reputable company will ask for your password and banks will certainly not ask you for your account information. Generally, if it looks too good to be true then it usually is!
  • Avoid online fraud and con tricks
    Criminals may contact you by email, through websites you use, via SMS or even by phone. It pays to be on your guard as they can be quite convincing. Here are some warning signs:

    • Big promises – ‘You have won the lottery’.
    • Big threats – ‘Your account has been hacked’.
    • A false sense of urgency – ‘Act now or it’ll be too late’.
    • Unnecessary secrecy – ‘Don’t tell anyone’.
    • There is no reason for them to contact you. Did you even buy a lottery ticket?
    • ‘Business opportunities’ that involve holding or receiving money for strangers.

    If an attachment looks suspicious, don’t open it. Don’t install software unless it comes from a website that you trust. If it doesn’t feel right, take your time.

  • Learn to spot fake emails and fake websites
    Criminals set up fake emails and websites to con people into giving away passwords and bank details. The technical word for this is ‘phishing’. For example, they might send you an email that looks like it comes from a company you know and it might contain a link to a website that looks like the company’s. When you try to log on, they can steal your password. They could also ask you to make a phone call or reply by email. They are good at making their emails and websites look realistic. But you can often spot the fake ones:

    • Dodgy looking email or web addresses
    • Poor design, typos or bad spelling
    • They ask you to do something unusual
    • A site doesn’t display the padlock symbol in the address bar when you log in

    Avoid clicking on links within emails.

  • Protect your mobile phone
    Your phone may hold lots of personal data – take care of it. Your mobile phone may contain personal information. You may even use it for internet banking and online shopping. For example, they might send you an email that looks like it comes from a trusted website and it might contain a link to a website. When you try to log on, they can steal your password. They could also ask you to make a phone call or reply by email. You may want to think about:

    • Setting and using a security PIN code
    • Adjusting the phone settings so that it locks automatically if you don’t use it for five or ten minutes
    • Not storing passwords or other sensitive information on your phone in a way that can be understood by someone else
    • Not storing your home phone number and address under ‘home’ in the contact list (you wouldn’t want a thief to be able to know your address and be able to check if you’re home)
    • Be wary of voicemail and text message scams
    • Clicking on links in text messages can be risky – be careful

    If you lose your phone, report it to your mobile phone provider immediately. Make a note of your phone’s IMEI number (dial *#060# to get it). This will make it easier for your phone company to disable a stolen phone.