At OVO, we do as much as we can to protect your data.
That said, there are a few extra steps you should take to make sure you look after your personal information and stay safe online.
Use strong passwords and keep them safe
Creating strong passwords
Here are a few examples of ways you can make your passwords harder to guess:
Create a password that's at least 12 characters long.
Make it unique by combining random words.
Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters such as punctuation marks.
Don't use people's names, company names or place names and avoid obvious numbers and phrases such as “12345” or "QWERTY".
Keeping your passwords safe
There are a few things worth thinking about to help make sure your passwords stay secure:
Never write your passwords down.
Use different passwords for different accounts. That way, most of your accounts will be safe if someone finds out one of your passwords.
Use a password manager to securely store your passwords.
More information on passwords
Get Safe Online has lots more tips around using strong passwords and staying safe online. It's supported by the government and some leading organisations.
Protect your bills and paper statements
Paper documents like energy bills and bank statements include personal information. Criminals could use this data to try to get into your online accounts. They could even use it to do things like open bank and credit card accounts or apply for loans in your name.
Always shred paper bills and statements before you throw them away and double-check postal and email addresses before you send your information to others.
Also, if you use a computer that other people can access, delete any PDF bills you've downloaded before you log out.
Don't open suspicious emails
Sometimes criminals will try to get people’s personal details by sending emails that look like they're from a trusted source such as a bank or utilities supplier. These are known as “phishing” emails.
It used to be easy to spot these emails. Now, they're getting more sophisticated. So it's not as easy to identify them.
You can sometimes spot phishing emails by some typical signs. Look for strange-looking web or email addresses, bad grammar, poor-quality images and website URLs that are different when you hover your mouse cursor over them. Also, emails like this might not use your name.
Don't open an email if you have doubts about it. Instead, get in touch with the company or person who supposedly sent it, either by phone or through their website. If you visit their website, don't use the web address given in the email. Search for it online instead.
Never take action on an email that asks you for personal information such as your bank account details or your password.
At OVO, we'll never ask you for your password or other personal information when we email you.
Keep your devices up-to-date
Update your operating system web browser and anti-virus software when they offer you a new version. Your device will usually tell you when there's a new version available to download.
Take care when you download apps
It's important you take care when you download apps to your devices, so you don't download a malicious one. Malicious apps sometimes collect data like your personal information and bank details. Others perform dishonest or illegal actions, like sending premium rate text messages without you knowing.
There are a few different precautions you can take to help you stay safe:
Only download apps from official app stores. That said, don't assume you're safe if you do – dodgy apps can sometimes slip through the net.
Find out whatever you can about the app. Do a Google search, look into the developer that created it and read reviews on the app store you're getting it from. If you can't find out much, it’s best avoided.
Make sure you understand what data the app can access and what it will use the data for. If the app asks for permissions, read through them carefully. If anything seems unusual or you're not happy, don't download it.
Consider downloading antivirus software that can scan and remove apps (and updates) that could be harmful to your device.
Don't jailbreak or root your device
It's also best to avoid ‘jailbreaking’ or 'rooting' your device. This is where you remove software restrictions on your device's operating system. Doing this means you can download apps that haven't been vetted by Google or Apple. But as they haven't been checked, there's more chance they could be malicious.
Beware of scam phone calls
Sometimes people might call you pretending to be from a company you trust. They may ask for your account information or passwords.
If you're suspicious about a call you receive or if someone is putting you under pressure to provide any personal information, hang up.
If you're concerned about a call from someone who says they're from OVO, call us back using one of the telephone numbers on your bill or our website.