Alexis Conran tells Marie Claire how to stay safe online

We use the internet to do our shopping, our banking and even form relationships but are you aware of the dangers?

‘Gone are the badly written emails offering you a million pound prize,’ says The Real Hustler presenter, Alexis Conran.

‘Scammers are getting smarter and the scams are becoming more personal, which make them more believable.’

But Conran explains the main reason for the increase in scams is because we are becoming more relaxed online.

Only 13 per cent of people in the UK would think an online survey offering a prize is a scam, while 42 per cent are enticed by online discount offers, according to research commissioned by internet security company PC Tools.

The study also found that women are more skeptical than men when it comes to online scams, while those aged between 18 and 25 are most susceptible.

‘We live in an age where social media use is extensive,’ says Conran. ‘It’s a great way of communicating but people need to be aware of protecting their identity.

‘Do you really want to show a stranger your holiday photos or tell them where you live or where you’re going out tonight?’

Conran urges people to make use of privacy settings and be aware that their image, name and personal details are worth money.

‘It’s a scary thought but whenever something is worth money, people will try and snatch it,’ he says.

Stay safe online

Be smart – ‘If you receive an email telling you to sign up and win £1 million, it is more than likely to be a scam.’

Don’t use the same password – ‘Have different passwords for each account or website. The same goes for credit and debit card pins. If your password or pin is found, it could have a catastrophic domino effect.’

Never give financial details – ‘Your bank will never ask you for card detail via email. Only share financial details with people and websites you know and trust.’

Beware of downloads – ‘Never download any programme that is offered to you for free, whether it’s a new video game or anti-virus software.’

Talk about it – ‘If you are scammed, discuss it. Go online, use forums or speak to the police. The moment you make it public, the site will be shut down.’

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