Cybercrime is on the rise. Protecting your data from cybercriminals is paramount if you want to avoid any unwanted stress and anxiety.

Here are some of the best ways to do just that.

Having your information accessed by a cybercriminal can be devastating. Not only can it have a physical impact on your finances and credit score but it may also have an emotional impact too.

Of course, you can claim compensation for a data breach if your data has been exposed by a business. That said, if you are responsible for it due to being careless online, you won’t be able to rely on this.

This is why protecting yourself from cybercriminals in a world of online communication is paramount. In this article, we’ll be providing a few tips to help you do just that.

Take a look at our cybercrime checklist.

8 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime as a Young Person

1. Choose Strong Passwords

First and foremost, it’s really important that you’re smart with your password choices. To do this, you should ensure that you don’t use the same passwords for everything and make sure you use strong passwords for all your accounts.

A strong password can be achieved by making sure you:

  • Use a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols
  • Don’t use words that can be easily attributed to yourself, like pets’ names and addresses
  • Don’t use consecutive words or letters, like 123456 or qwerty
  • Keep the password at least 12 or more characters long

You might be worried about remembering all these passwords, especially seeing as it’s not advised that you write them down. However, a password manager on your device will help.

2. Never Share Your Passwords

Once you’ve chosen these strong passwords, it’s really important that you keep them safe. Don’t even trust your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend with them, as you just never know.

3. When Browsing the Internet, Look for the Padlock Symbol

When exploring the internet, you should always be wary of sites that aren’t equipped with a padlock symbol in the top left corner of the URL search bar. This is there to show you whether the site is secure or not. Without it, your information could be at risk.

You should definitely keep an eye out for this padlock if you’re making a purchase on the site. Entering your bank details could be a risk without it, so always be alert.

4. Only Input Details into Trusted Websites

Speaking of inputting details, it’s important that you only input your personal details into websites you trust. This could include:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Birthdays
  • Bank details

Sometimes, even with the padlock symbol present, the site might not be totally secure. So, be sure to stick to sites you have used in the past and, if you want to buy something using a new site, check out the online reviews before doing so.

5. Don’t Click Links

You’ll likely have received a number of texts and emails in your time encouraging you to click a link. These messages often create a sense of fear and urgency, which can make you click the link due to sheer anxiety. That said, you should always stop and think before doing anything like this.

Instead, decide if the number can be trusted; if you’ve had previous correspondence with the number before, it should be okay. But, if it’s a number you don’t recognise, be sure to do some research before clicking.

For example, say you receive a text message from your bank saying there’s been suspicious activity. Head to your online banking app and check there first, and if nothing seems out of the ordinary it should be fine. If you’re really worried, head to the bank’s website and phone them up to see if they can shed some light.

You can usually get in touch with someone from the company over the phone who can put your concerns at ease. By being cautious, you’re much more likely to remain out of trouble online and avoid cybercrime.

6. Be Wary of Any Unknown Email Addresses

Receiving links from an unknown number or email address is one thing, but now cybercriminals are becoming far more sophisticated. Instead of sending you a link outright, they may send you an email to strike up a discussion with you. By forging a back-and-forth relationship with you, you’re much more likely to trust them, and therefore may end up in hot water.

To avoid this, you should always look at the email address of the recipient to see if it’s one you recognise. If it clearly doesn’t match the name or company they’re claiming to be, it probably isn’t. Again, though, if you’re not certain, phone the company or person they’re claiming to be to check it’s legitimate before sending a reply.

7. Steer Clear from Poor Spelling and Grammar

Similarly, alongside the email address, you should always be wary of any correspondence that uses poor English grammar.

Many (but not all) online scammers come from foreign countries and may be targeting English speakers. Because of this, emails and text messages will likely have poor vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Although it may sound stereotypical, this is a clear red flag.

8. If It Sounds Too Good to be True, It Probably Is

Whether it be a pop-up claiming you’ve won a prize, or an email talking about a long-lost relative with thousands of pounds to send to you, these crazy stories are probably a scam. So, you should always be cautious, and keep the above motto in your head at all times.

Let’s Avoid Cybercrime Together

As a young person today, the online world has never been more prominent as you grow up. Because of this, it can feel natural to trust anyone and everything you see online, as it’s simply part of your everyday lives.

The truth is that much of what we see on our phones, tablets and laptops is a lie. So, be sure to always err on the side of caution. Be cautious and sceptical, and if you’re unsure about anything call the person or company to check.

In doing so, you should hopefully avoid any unnecessary issues regarding the exposure of your personal information in the face of cybercrime.

Good luck!