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25% Of Mobile Devices Unprotected - Brits Not As Tech Savvy As They Think

What can happen when your guard is down…

The Real Hustle's Paul Wilson, set aside his knowledge of keeping safe online to show what can happen when our guard is down.  He undertook a number of challenges in the Experian 'Identity Trail' across London using a new mobile device.  Paul was fully aware that this experiment would enable Experian Consumer Services to look for and identify any weaknesses in his unguarded online behaviour, reveal them and see what a fraudster might potentially be able to discover.

The experiment demonstrated a number of ways users can be exploited when in a rush, making basic security mistakes that leave us exposed to phishing, credit card details capture, personal account mediation.  A professional security consultant tracked Paul throughout the day and was able to log his usernames, passwords web sites visited, and read his e-mails.  Paul's payment card details were also captured when he tried to make online purchases as part of the Identity Trail.

Paul Wilson, TV presenter on The Real Hustle, said: "Today we showed what can happen if you let your guard down - this is what happens when we are in a hurry.  In terms of protecting our identity, the most common mistake we make is not to pay attention when we should, especially when we are accessing something online or using an unknown source like a free WiFi spot.  You shouldn't walk around paranoid, you should enjoy the convenience of modern life; just take some precautions."

Peter Turner continued: "Last year it took people an average of 444 days to discover they had become a victim of identity fraud so live your life on the go with care: think about how you secure your devices and share information online.  With the advent of web monitoring services, consumers can be instantly alerted if their personal details are being used or misused online so that they can take steps to identify and stop any suspicious activity before they become a victim of identity fraud."

Simple steps that can help protection you from ID Fraud when living a busy Life on the Go:

  • Use different strong passwords - different online accounts such as emails, banking, shopping and social networks.
  • Protect your mobile devices with a Pincode lock - every mobile device offers this facility. It's simple to use and adds extra peace of mind if you tend to leave your mobile device in public display.
  • Remember that open Wi-Fi hotspots are riskier than private networks so be conscious of the information you access via mobile networks.
  • Check your device ' s geo-location settings - understand which applications have access to your geo-location information, how it is being used and shared.
  • If in doubt, don ' t click. Online is now second nature to many people. But don't let that give you a false sense of security. If a website looks dubious, an online offer too good to be true, or an email with its subject line and content conflicting with what your bank would normally send you, don't click. Check online to see if other people have encountered what might be a scam or virus, and contact your friend or bank to see if the email is legitimate.
  • Know where your details go. If personal information falls into the wrong hands, within minutes, the data can be used to access your accounts, and can be bought and sold in underground forums around the world. Protect yourself with a service like CreditExpert's Web Monitoring, which alerts members by text or email at the first signs that their details have been compromised.

People who think they have become victims of identity fraud should notify the police, contact their bank and check their credit report. Experian's Victims of Fraud service is also available free to fraud victims, and has a dedicated team to give expert advice and support tailored to their particular circumstances.

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