You may be thinking "they are not going to get me" but in reality there is a very real possibility that they will. Not through any fault of your own but due to the lapse security of the organisations that hold your personal data.
Let me give you a scenario that in future may well save you thousands.
Your phone/broadband company has a data breach and your personal information has been stolen by hackers/scammers (unknown).
You get a letter from your provider informing you of this and your response is to be a bit more vigilant when conducting online payments and be more generally aware of your activities online.
That should be enough for you to ensure you are not the victim of online fraud, however it's and even the most vigilant surfer can be tricked into handing over thousands to the unscrupulous thieves trying their best to get a few pounds from your bank account.
Back to the scenario, so a few months later you get a call from your provider, they tell you that they are looking into your case and have concluded that the security breach came from your machine and they will need to connect to your computer to check things out before they can process a compensation payment.
Great you think. My personal information has been stolen and the provider
want to give me money as a gesture of good will. WIN WIN. Maybe not.
You allow them to connect to your machine and do a bit of poking around, running a few virus scans and making it look like they are genuinely looking for any kind of security issue on your machine.
When they say we can't find any issue and we have just processes a payment to your bank account for £xxx. Your eyes light up and you think great money for nothing.
You are then asked to check your online banking for the payment. OUCH, this is where the problems begin.
Whilst you are logging in to your online banking they are recording everything
you do. Either by key logging or by watching you log in and check the details.
Before you know it you have been fleeced by whatever amount they can get from your account.
This is a real situation and has happened to thousands of people before you. Be aware be very aware.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that you are not the victim of such crimes
Firstly don't let anyone connect to your machine unless you have specifically asked them for assistance. If someone calls you up claiming they need to connect to your machine as they can see a security issue then put the phone down.
Do not confirm your personal information over any chat session or even over the phone. Let them prove they are who they say they are. You would have set security question when you set up your online accounts. If they don't ask you for these then they don't know them. Just to be sure when IM contacted by any of my online accounts and they ask me for confirmation of letter 1 and 5 of my password I then ask them to confirm back to me letters 2 and 4.
Run regular spyware, adware and virus scans on your machine. Schedule them for a time you know your machine will be switched on. Sometimes the real time online scans don't always work so it is worth ensuring you are checking the status of your machine daily at least. It may slow the machine down slightly but as long as your scanning software has been kept up to date chances are it will pick up anything that may cause you problems.
Finally and probably the most important is. If you are not 100% sure that the person you are dealing with is genuine then put the phone down and call the provider directly. If they have called you then they will have record of it. If not then at least you have prevented yourself from being the victim of these online scammers.
If you think you are th victime of online fraud then you can report it to Action Fraud via this link. http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
Make sure you also inform your bank and provider.