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Top 10 tips for staying safe online

The internet offers a world of opportunities for us all, but it’s important to stay safe when online. We’ve put together a list of 10 top tips for using the internet whether at work or home:

1.Install antivirus software

The first step to staying safe on the internet is to make sure you download antivirus software from trusted resellers such as Symantec and McAfee. If you can’t afford to buy a license there are a number of companies offering free antivirus software for home users, including Microsoft, AVAST and AVIRA.

2.Protect with passwords

Use a different password for each website and change these as often as you can. Perhaps set yourself a reminder to do this. Think about using an unusual phrase, or even your favourite film name or song title as your password – avoid using your date of birth or phone number as part of your password.

If you’re struggling to think of unique passwords for each account or site, visit LastPass – this site can generate and store strong passwords.

3.Create seperate email addresses

If you apply the same rules to email addresses as to passwords, then where possible, create a separate email account for your social life; Facebook, twitter, whatsapp than for any online banking accounts.

4.Be careful what you download

So, before you click that download button, ask yourself is the site well known, have you used the site before without any problems. If in doubt, don’t download.

It’s thanks to the internet that we can download endless films, music files or photographs as and when we want, but for every legitimate site there’s another one that might be harmful to your device, or worse still, be set up to steal your personal information.

5.Log out! 

When you’ve finished browsing a certain site, or have checked all your emails, then don’t forget to log out of accounts that you’ve signed into. Especially if you’re using a computer or device that others have access to. Leaving yourself signed into accounts that you’ve been using, puts you at risk of your personal data being used.

6.Too good to be true?

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never send money to a company or person you don’t know in the promise of goods, services or even work. If you’re asked to send cash in advance.

If you receive an email or see a pop up ad claiming you’ve won a free iPhone or iPad, ask yourself would this happen to me in a shop or in any other situation. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of an online shop or service is dodgy, use WHOIS (www.whois.net) to search the registration details of a site. Or check their website for a physical address, ideally in the UK

7. Watch those permissions

Be very careful what apps you choose to install and pay special attention to what information (permissions) each app is requesting. If a holiday app is requesting access to your photographs or facebook account then think again.

8.Safety First

Thinking about shopping or making a payment online? Make sure the site is safe and secure. There are two ways you can check that a site is safe; i) does the website url start with https;? If so, great. The ‘s’ stands for secure. Is there a padlock icon in your browser? Yes? That’s another tick, this means that the site is safe for you to pay online and share your personal information.

9.Think twice about linksThink twice before clicking on links found in emails, especially if you don’t know the sender as all too oftenemails aren’t quite what they seem. Thieves operating online may create and send emails that appear to come from your bank, credit card company or other shopping sites. And they can look quite convincing too! But beware, lurking within these emails may be links to dodgy sites which are after your personal information. If you’re unsure if an email has come from your bank, then call your branch and ask them if they’ve tried to contact you.

10.Have a clear out

If you’ve not used an application or a piece of software for a long time, then give your device a tidy up and delete or uninstall them. This will reduce the number of ways that potential hackers can get into your machine.

The Trust offers many safe and secure ways for customers to contact us, including email, Live Chat on our website, as well as via our Customer App. Through the app you can pay your rent and check your rent balance, request a repair, report anti-social behaviour and so much more. Download the app via either Google Play or the Apple Store

Related Help & Support Articles

Find helpful articles on finding your next home with Halton Housing, and how to apply for a home here.

Help & Support Categories

We have 6 Help and Support categories to help make finding the help and advice you’re looking for that little bit easier, the categories include: Your Home, Health and Wellbeing, Help with Halton, Online Accessibility, Payments and Money and Your Career.

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Halton Housing has received reports from customers that bogus callers are targeting our neighbourhoods in Widnes and Runcorn. Any visits to your home by Halton Housing will be pre-arranged with you. All of our staff carry photographic identification badges. Each badge has the Halton Housing logo and the staff member’s name. If you are ever in doubt – please call us on 0303 333 0101.