CONSUMERS are being urged to step up security as banks continue to battle against online fraudsters.

Many High Street banks are writing tough new rules that mean current account holders will be made to take the blame if they fall prey to online crooks.

Online banking and the number of customers using apps to run their financial affairs is booming, while at the same time the number of hackers trying to break into accounts is also rocketing.

A recent report by an internet security firm found 160,000 types of computer virus are being developed every single day.

These bugs aim to find holes in consumer’s online security and grab vital bits of personal data in order to take cash from accounts.

shreddingIn a bid to battle the hackers, banks are drawing up new rules which include making customers shred bank statements, have different Pin codes for each card, banning consumers writing down their online banking details, outlawing the use of websites that store personal details and barring some banking services for customers who have second-hand phones.

The crackdown comes as police revealed that a new virus, called GameOver Zeus, may have infected 15,500 computers in Britain and is targeting bank details.

Last year, someone became the victim of bank fraud every two minutes. More than 60 per cent of all fraud involved parts, or all, of a person’s identity being stolen —  i.e. their account details and passwords.

The law is on the side of the consumer – a bank must prove an individual has been negligent and have evidence to back this up, or refund any losses.

But there are still steps you can take to reduce the chance of falling victim and failing to do so could put people as much at risk as going out and leaving the front door open.

So here are a few easy steps to take to reduce the chance of becoming the victim of online fraudsters:

  • Don’t ever give out your personal information to strangers
  • Never use personal details as passwords — such as birthdays of loved ones or your pet’s name
  • If you’re asked for personal details when signing up with a company, use a random word you’ll remember instead. If they ask for your mother’s maiden name, you don’t have to give her actual one
  • Don’t do online banking in a public place, such as a cafe. By using wireless you expose yourself to the risk of fellow customers being able to hack into your account
  • Never write down Pins and passwords in a book, even if it’s locked in a filing cabinet. You may think that it’s safe, but don’t under-estimate criminals
  • Make your password as long and as random as possible. Modern software allows a computer to make 1,000 guesses a second — meaning that a random five-letter password can be cracked in four hours.  But it would take a life- time for criminals to work out a 20-letter password
  • If your gut feeling is that something is not right, contact the police and your bank. If you’ve been called by suspected criminals on your home phone, call from a different line
  • Never reply to emails that appear to be sent from your bank and, in particular, never give them your passwords or log-in details
  • If your computer is behaving strangely — windows keep popping up or strange internet pages are appearing — then don’t log in to your bank account. It may be infected.