As many of us have had to adapt to life working from home or with more time on our hands during lockdown, the internet has become our lifeline. Online shopping, looking for health information and news updates and staying in contact with loved ones means the need to be aware of online safety has never been more important.

We have put together five tips for keeping your device and personal information safe.

1. Choose your passwords wisely

Scammers can use clever equipment to predict your password. Avoid names and obvious dates like birthdays. Short statements or personal phrases can work well with some capital letters and numbers included. Most importantly, don’t use the same password for everything!

2. Be suspicious

The phrase ‘better safe than sorry’ is a good one to apply with online links and emails. Online competitions and surveys or amazing deals are often scams. If something sounds too good to be true if probably is!

3. Keep your software up-to-date

If you use a laptop make sure you have antivirus software and that it is up to date; usually you will pay for this by subscription. Always do regular updates on apps on your phone to keep your information safe.

4. Beware dodgy downloads

Unless you have searched a website yourself and know it is genuine, don’t click on links or download information; it’s a way to install a virus. If you use apps, always check your privacy settings to be sure you are only sharing the information you want to share.

5. Take action against scammers

If you are suspicious about a potential scam, or have been the victim of a scam, take action by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud can provide advice and support if you have been scammed, and reporting fraudsters can help to protect others in the future.

Speak out to stop scams

Scammers can target anyone, so all of us should take action to protect ourselves and others. While you may feel embarrassed at having been scammed, reporting the incident can help to protect others and bring the authorities closer to stopping those responsible.

You can get more information on how to recognise a scam here and find out how to avoid NHS Test and Trace scams here.