Staying safe with your IT systems by Pat Taylor
I was a breach of my accounts on my first 12 1/2 hour shift working as a bank nurse at a local community hospital. My brain was in overdrive, trying to take everything in, manage my workload and learn new systems. In general I was trying to keep on top of all the jobs I had to get through.
At lunch time I started to get a number of calls and messages on my mobile. I couldn’t answer them as I couldn’t leave my patients or look at my phone. This is when I started to worry. Are the boys ok? Is the dog ok? Something is going on.
As I was going to my lunch break, I received a call from a friend. She asked if I had messaged her son that morning about sending him some money. Obviously I had not done this and I thanked my friend for letting me know. I also saw the amount of calls I had missed!
I called my family, messaged my friends and tried to find out what had happened. They posted to explain that the messages were not from me, that somebody else had accessed my accounts”.
It seemed that someone (trying not to use expletives here) had accessed my accounts and had sent messages to most of my contacts on Messenger and Facebook. The person responsible had sent information about sending them money which could then be paid back into an ISA. An app then had to be downloaded and I presume from there, they could then have got access to your bank details.
To cut a long story short, and after a few frantic ‘phone calls, my husband called the bank to alert them. My son tried to log back on to my Facebook and my friends posted an explanation, returned calls and let people know what was happening. I went back to work and eventually finished my shift stressed and worried but very grateful.
These people are getting very clever. They read through your messages and imitate your language, using words and phrases that make it sound like the message is from you. Friends and family are sent messages and are duped into conversations to gain trust. The hackers are experts at this and know how to get you on side.
It has been a frustrating time for me and anyone that was contacted.
To mop up the aftermath, today I need to go in to the bank to reset my online banking, and I will be changing many of my online passwords “just in case”. Many accounts need to be reset with new passwords and validation.
So just to re-iterate, if any of your friends or family send you a message to ask for money, bank details or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not reply on that app/platform/page etc no matter how desperate they seem.
You can either check to see if it was them by calling or messaging them through a different way of communication, report it, block them or ignore. If it is legitimate, that person will not mind if you check to see if it is really them. Please be safe and let others who may be elderly or vulnerable, know about this too.
A great suggestion is to use a credit card for all your online purchases. That way your home account will not be compromised if your bank account is hacked and the bank will take responsibility for investigating and retrieving their money.
Here are some great tips to help you to be safer;