Good privacy protection is among the first things to take care of if you are considering an online career. The earlier you form this habit, the easier to prevent issues later, especially if your transactions are no longer in the region of £30 but much larger.
If you follow the advice I am going to give you here, you will improve your online protection considerably. Do bear in mind, though, that if you become the target of a serious hacker, they will most probably find a way to hit you. Still, it is up to you to take all necessary precautions.
Virtual Private Network-VPN
Using a VPN is one of the safest ways to surf the net. An encrypted connection is established between your device and a remote server so that no one can see the information you exchange. The sites you visit can see the server’s IP address but not your personal one.
The VPN service has a number of advantages:
- It protects you from hackers who monitor public Wi-Fi networks.
- It overcomes internet censorship. That explains why the Chinese use VPN on a mass scale to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- It gives you access to region-restricted websites
I don’t recommend using free VPN services because it is not worth it and security is not guaranteed. There are plenty of affordable solutions on the market, which cost £5-10 per month and ensure a far better level of protection.
www.HideMyAss.com -– this is the first VPN I have used. It has a mobile app and has been perfectly meeting my needs for several years now. It is user-friendly and easy to navigate so it makes an indispensable tool if you want to make the most of the various odds on offer through bypassing bookmakers’ web filters.
Debit cards are the most popular online payment method so you should pay special attention to their protection. Don’t just ignore this advice because you only carry out small transactions. As I mentioned above, if you form a habit of protecting your cards, it will come in handy when you start operating with larger amounts of money, which is when many more people will want to hack you.
- CVV code – When using debit cards online, the three-digit CVV code is your primary means of protection. It can be found at the end of the white strip on the back of the card. Every time you make a deposit with a bookmaker, you will have to enter this code to authorize the payment.
Security token – This is a small device issued by the bank, which provides added security to your transactions. Every time you make a payment online, you are prompted to enter the code generated by the security token so as to authenticate the transaction. This is a highly secure payment method. Check whether your bank offers this service and if so, take advantage of it.
- Virtual cards –A lot of banks are already offering virtual debit cards which only support online payments. They don’t have magnetic strips and cannot be used at ATMs, hence eliminating the risk of skimming.
Choose one card to use only for online betting.
Don’t leave extra money on the card or in your accounts. Instead, withdraw any extra funds and load only the amount you are going to deposit.
Subscribe to receive an SMS alert every time a payment is made with that card. Even if something goes wrong, that will help you react quickly and block the payment if it is attempted by someone else.
Have your bank’s 24/7 contact number handy. In case of a problem, you will be able to phone the bank immediately and block the card.
Hopefully I don’t have to remind you not to write your PIN down in the signature field on the back of your card …
As you see, these are just a couple of simple tricks but they could enhance your financial protection considerably. Don’t underestimate details. If you are now operating with £30-40 on your card and think this sounds ridiculous and is a waste of time, keep in mind that at some point you might be depositing and withdrawing funds in the region of £4,000-5,000. The earlier you get into the right habits, the better.
If you use e-wallets such as Skrill and Neteller, it is vital to have a really strong password and be careful what computers and public networks you use to access your accounts. I always use a VPN when I need to transfer money but am not at home or in the office.
Security token – Skrill offers such a device, which is an excellent alternative. That way you can guarantee that no transactions will be carried out without the 10-digit authorisation code generated by the token.
Email – The security of the e-mail address that you used to register in Skrill is also extremely important. Keep in mind that you need to use the same e-mail both with the bookmaker and Skrill. Create a separate account only for this purpose and don’t use it elsewhere on the net.
Your first line of defense on the internet is your password, so don’t underestimate it. I am amazed that year after year people go on using absurd passwords despite the numerous cases of identity theft and fraud on the net. Over the past couple of years, 123456 and password have remained the two most common passwords. Every year, SplashData put together a list of the top 25 most frequently used passwords so check whether yours is not on this list. Following some rules of thumb when choosing a password will guarantee you sound security and protection from evil-minded users.
No matter what password you use, never use the same one on sites where you operate with money or upload proof of identity. While you might be using 1234 or similar on recreational forums and sites, when it comes to money, please make an effort and come up with nine-ten different passwords.
Here’s what to consider when choosing a password:
- The more, the better! Winnie the Pooh is absolutely right. The longer the password, the more secure it is. I advise using a minimum of 12 characters.
- What should it contain? A combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
- What should I avoid? Keep away from words that can be found in dictionaries. No matter if you replaced “o” with “0”, or “s” with $, or you mixed upper- and lowercase letters with 4 and 6 in-between, you had better go for something else if the word is obvious.
As a matter of fact, Yj5#fe@368X7^$l would be an excellent password. You just need to remember ten more like it.
There are a few useful techniques when creating and working with passwords.
- Take a sentence and turn it into a password.Come up with a sentence that you associate with that particular file and use it as a password. You are free to use the first letter of each word, or the total count of the words as numbers, or a variety of characters: anything you could possibly imagine. Just make sure you remember the sentence and the algorithm you used for the password. Afterwards, you will be able to reproduce it at any time without the need for memorising such a long string of characters as in the example above.
- Use the bookie’s name. Similar to using a sentence to create a password, there is an even lazier way. Just take your bookmaker’s name and come up with your own unique algorithm so as to turn it into a password. Once again, there are numerous options. You could use the ordinal numbers of the letters as they appear in the alphabet, or take the letters that follow your original ones, or even use every second letter. You can literally add or subtract anything you want as long as the final string has nothing to do with the original and cannot be matched to it in any way. If you choose this approach, you won’t have to remember full sentences. Yet don’t be lazy; after all, this is your money.
- Use a password manager. There are numerous password saving applications out there. Just type “password manager” in Google and you will get plenty of options to choose from. Needless to say, the paid ones are the best.
The most vulnerable spot that you might not be thinking about very often is your electronic mailbox. That is where you receive all your passwords and sign-up personal data. Most probably, that is also the channel through which you upload and send your scanned IDs to verify your account with a bookmaker. Don’t forget that these files remain in your mailbox even after you have sent them!
In most cases, all it takes is for someone to hack your mailbox and thus gain access to any information they might need.
As regards your e-mail, it is a good idea to pay attention to the following:
- At best, you should have a different e-mail address for each bookmaker or site where you transfer money or share personal data. It is still acceptable if you have a separate e-mail for all your betting activity. However, don’t ever use an e-mail address which has been registered in countless sites on the net.
- Always use complex passwords. To guarantee better e-mail protection, make sure you use complex passwords containing a mix of characters, numerals and letters that do not make dictionary words. It is best if you change the passwords every once in a while but since I know you won’t bother to, I advise using strong passwords.
- Adjust your spam settings. When using a given e-mail only for bookmakers, it is much easier to track down spam mail. Watch out and block everything that doesn’t come from the sites you are registered with.
When it comes to personal data, I mean IDs and bank statements used as proof of identity and residence with bookmakers and online payment systems. From my experience, I have seen loads of people brutally ignore this part of online protection.
Once again, there are a couple of rules to make your life easier:
- Always check first. When you receive an e-mail from a website with a request to send them scanned copies of your IDs, the first thing you should do is talk to the live chat or send an enquiry through the contact form on the site. Ask them if it was really them who sent you that e-mail and whether they do need your personal data. Don’t ever click on the links in the e-mail before verifying its sender.
- Use the Upload form. Instead of sending files via e-mail, it is always a good idea to use an upload form if the bookmaker has one.
- Delete everything from your e-mail. If you send files via e-mail, remember that copies of them remain in your mailbox. Check your folders regularly and delete the files from Sent, Drafts, Trash, or anywhere else there might be a trace left.
- Don’t access your accounts from someone else’s computer. If you do so, at least hit Log out when done.
- Don’t trust any e-mail which asks for some sort of personal data. Always check first.
- Never keep extra money in your accounts. It is safer under the mattress.
- Don’t forget that your e-mail is your weakest spot.
- Create and use your passwords wisely.
- Remember it takes only a small effort but it will increase your protection exponentially.
- Re-read this article and try to take away something from it. Better than nothing.
- Use token devices for maximum protection of your debit card payments.
Security is probably one of the most neglected aspects of online betting. However, it might cost you the greatest loss in your career as a bettor. At the risk of being annoying, I will repeat: following simple safeguards to protect your online transactions and forming the right habits will reduce the risk of failure in future to almost zero.