Protect Your Information
Earning your trust and loyalty is at the heart of everything we do every day at Blue Ring Digital Services Limited. This includes protecting your information like it’s our own. We are continually innovating and implementing the most advanced technologies and techniques to ensure the safety and privacy of our customers’ information. This means we work to improve and strengthen how we protect your information.
Our commitment to protecting you and your information comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.
Know who you are doing business with
One of the best ways you can protect yourself from fraud and other online cyber threats is to know who you are doing business with. While many websites and emails are designed to look professional and secure, there are often telltale signs that can help you identify ones you want to avoid.
What to Avoid
- Don’t ever respond to pressure to buy. The internet has no opening or closing time, shop at your leisure and only buy when you are sure it’s safe;
- Don’t provide personal or payment information when requested through email, telephone or text message;
- Avoid "get rich quick" schemes.
What to Do
- If you have any doubt about a company, check around to make sure the company is legitimate. Checking independent company reviews via your favorite search engine is always a good idea too.
- Check refund and return policies before you buy;
- Protect your personal information, never give out your user name or password and make sure you use different passwords for each site you go to. For example, when you create a password for your financial institution, don’t use that password for any other site;
- Only provide credit card information and personal information on a secured site. Look for the https:// in the URL address bar. Check the URL as you go to each new page to ensure you are still on the site you intended, and that it’s secure- especially if you’re providing sensitive information.
To help you shop safely online, take the following common sense steps:
- Don’t rely on a professional looking website as proof of a company’s quality or good reputation;
- Investigate a company or seller before you buy;
- Find out where a company is physically located to help avoid overseas or offshore scams;
- Never give out your bank account number, credit card number, or personal information unless you’re certain a company is legitimate;
- Pay for your purchases by credit or charge card for better protection;
- Start with a small, inexpensive purchase to see how the company handles your order;
- Find out about a company’s return and refund policies before you purchase;
- Always use a secure internet browser that encrypts or scrambles your personal or financial information.
Username and password best practices
Create a strong password
Weak passwords, those that aren't hard to guess or are common words, can be easily cracked. Strong passwords are VERY important. Here are some tips for creating or changing a password:-
- Use a different password for each online account you have. Using the same password for more than one account risks multiple exposures if one site you use is hacked;
- Do not use people's names or special dates as passwords. Avoid any combination of characters that friends or acquaintances can easily guess;
- Use syllables or acronyms. Avoid using complete words that appear in any dictionary regardless of the language. One option is to start with the first letters of a familiar phrase. For example, "Mary had a little lamb" becomes "Mhall" which could be part of a secure password;
- Mix it up! Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation/ special characters, such as &^$#;
- Change your password regularly, especially your financial and email accounts.
Keep your password safe
Having a strong password is only one of the steps in protecting your accounts. Here are some tips to help you keep your password safe:-
- Keep it to yourself. Do not share your password with others. You never know what the future will bring in relationships or coworkers, so do not give your password out, to anyone;
- Keep your passwords safe. Don’t write them down in a place where others can find them. There are programs available where you can securely store your passwords.
Choose a good username
Your username is the key to your online identity on many sites. Here are some tips for choosing a good user name:-
- Pick a username that you can remember. If you create a name that's unusual for you, you may not remember it the next time you log on;
- Make it simple. Unlike your password, Avoid using too many symbols or upper and lower case letters. It'll slow you down when you type it in;
- Never use a personally identifiable number, such as your National Insurance Number, as a username or password. National Insurance Numbers may be hard to guess and easy to remember, but they could give malicious fraudsters a coveted piece of personal information that can be exploited;
- Decide whether you want to remain anonymous. On some community sites, your user name will appear next to each of your public posts;
- Slow down. If you choose a username in haste, you may not be able to change it later. This is especially important for accounts that stay with you for years.
Phishing, Pharming, Vishing, and Smishing
On the Internet, "phishing" refers to criminal activity that attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information. There are several ways a fraudster can try to obtain sensitive information such as your National Insurance Number, driver's license, credit card information, or bank account information, often luring you with a sense of urgency. Sometimes a fraudster will first send you a benign email (think of this as the bait) to lure you into a conversation and then follow that up with a phishing email. At other times, the fraudster will just send one phishing email that will direct you to a website requesting you to enter your personal information such as User ID and Password.
Recognizing a fake email
Here are some questions to ask if you think you have received a phishing email. You can use these same questions if you receive a vishing or smishing message:-
- Do you know the sender of the email? If yes, continue to be cautious before clicking a link. If no, do not click any links;
- Have you checked the link? Hover your mouse over the link and check the URL. Does it look legitimate or does it look like it will take you to a different website?;
- Does the email contain grammatical errors? If so, be suspicious;
- Are there any attachments in the email? If so, do not click on the attachment before contacting the sender to verify its contents;
- Does the email request personal information? If so, do not reply;
- If you have a relationship with the company, are they addressing you by name?
Pharming is another scam where a fraudster installs malicious code on a personal computer or server. This code then redirects any clicks you make on a website to another fraudulent website without your consent or knowledge. Be especially careful when entering financial information on a website. Look for the ‘s’ in https and the key or lock symbol at the bottom of the browser. If the website looks different than when you last visited, be suspicious and don’t click unless you are absolutely certain the site is secure.
Unfortunately, phishing emails are not the only way people can try to fool you into providing personal information in an effort to steal your identity or commit fraud. Fraudsters also use the phone to solicit your personal information. This telephone version of phishing is sometimes called vishing. Vishing relies on “social engineering” techniques to trick you into providing information that others can use to access and use your important accounts. People can also use this information to assume your identity and open new accounts.
To avoid being fooled by a vishing attempt:-
- If you receive an email or phone call requesting you call them and you suspect it might be a fraudulent request, look up the organisation’s customer service number and call that number rather than the number provided in the solicitation email or phone call;
- Forward the solicitation email to the customer service or security email address of the organisation, asking whether the email is legitimate.
Though vishing and its relative, phishing, are troublesome crimes and sometimes hard to identify.
Just like phishing, smishing uses mobile phone text messages to lure consumers in. Often the text will contain an URL or phone number. The phone number often has an automated voice response system. And again, just like phishing, the smishing message usually asks for your immediate attention.
Do not respond to smishing messages.
Here are some tips for you to follow:
- Use a different password for each online account, see Username and password best practices;
- Use an anti-virus software program and make sure you have it set up to update and scan your system automatically;
- Ensure your computer and internet browser are up to date by running updates as requested. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download any updates as needed;
- Change your password frequently;
- If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your affected financial institutions (banks, credit card companies) and contact the following organisations which maintain information about your credit ratings.