New online fraud figures show why it’s vital to protect your data online

Cybercrime printed on a keyboard key

12 million items of our personal data were traded online by fraudsters in the first three months of this year according to new research.

The data from credit checking agency Experian suggests a worrying amount of information is falling into the wrong hands and our online behaviour could be part of the problem.

According to the research one in four of us allow our web browsers to remember passwords, which could put them at risk. Meanwhile only 20% of us close down unneeded online accounts when we’ve finished with them.

It’s important to be careful about what information you give away online. Many of us are particularly cautious when using the internet for buying, selling or checking bank accounts but even forgotten social network accounts could contain data useful to an online fraudster.

Here are some simple steps you might consider to protect yourself:

  • Try to use different passwords for different sites and make them difficult to guess
  • Consider using a separate email account for sensitive information
  • Always think twice before publishing your personal details online
  • Consider closing online accounts that you no longer use
  • When entering sensitive personal data such as bank details online make sure your browser is displaying a padlock symbol
  • Even if it’s password protected avoid entering personal details over a public Wi-Fi network

Our online guides have more advice on protecting yourself from ID theft and cybercrime.

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Good advice RT @TelegraphTech: Top 10 tips to stay safe online tgr.ph/1CP8F94