Travel | How to Avoid Holiday Scams
With COVID-19 restrictions finally starting to ease, many Britons are looking forward to a well-earned summer getaway. And while holidays should be a time for enjoyment and relaxation, an increasing number of holidaymakers are left experiencing the exact opposite. This is due to holiday scams, where victims are tricked into paying for holidays, accommodation or flights, only to find out later they don’t exist. Such scams are on the rise. In fact, package holiday scams increased 17 per cent between March 2021 and 2022, according to Lloyds Bank. Avoid becoming a victim by considering the following tips:
- Many holiday scams involve a victim clicking a link on a fake social media advert. Where possible, book with trusted sites or travel agents. Better still, use a travel company that’s a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL.
- Before booking, read reviews to verify that the company or address exists. Study the terms and conditions carefully, including the cancellation policy. Once booked, keep records of payment confirmations and receipts.
- Where possible, pay by debit or credit card and be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer. When paying online, check that the website is secure; the browser address should start with “https” and display a padlock symbol. Additionally, avoid clicking any payment links you’ve been emailed. Instead, type out the website address in full so you can be certain you’ve reached your intended destination.
- Scams aren’t exclusive to the booking process, so remain vigilant once on holiday. Watch out forpickpockets who often target busy tourist spots. Additionally, use licensed taxi providers to make sure you’re charged a fair price.
Remember, trust your instincts. If it feels like a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get rushed into making an impulsive decision.
For more information on scam avoidance, contact us today. Should you fall victim to a scam, seek urgent assistance by contacting your bank, the police and Action Fraud.
Life | Benefits of Volunteering
According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), 16.3 million people volunteered through a group, club or organisation in 2020/21. Volunteers Week takes place annually in June to recognise the fantastic contribution these volunteers make. If you’re considering volunteering, you may experience the following benefits:
- Meeting new people. Volunteering in the community provides an opportunity for creating friendships that help to keep loneliness at bay.
- Enhancing your skills. By doing something new you might learn valuable skills that could help your future job prospects.
- Making a difference. By choosing a worthy cause close to your heart volunteering could make a difference to the lives of others.
- Giving something back. Through helping an organisation that’s had a positive impact on your life, you’ll be able to ‘pay forward’ their assistance.
Moreover, volunteering can be good for your mental health. In fact, 80 per cent of volunteers said that volunteer work had improved their sense of well-being, according to Royal Voluntary Service members.
This June, consider volunteering to help improve the well-being of yourself and others.
Home | Staying Safe While Working Remotely
Working remotely can offer many benefits, including a better work-life balance and reduced travel costs, a significant advantage during the current cost-of-living crisis. Despite its many perks, remote working can put the security of an organisation at risk. In fact, more than half of firms believe remote working has left them open to cyber-attacks, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and networking hardware company Cisco. To help keep your data safe, consider the following tips when working remotely:
- Utilise the Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you have access to a VPN, make sure you connect to it each day. It’s a secure network line that will enable access to local servers and shared folders while keeping data protected.
- Keep software up to date. For proper security, keep anti-virus and other preventive software up to date. If an IT team installs updates on your behalf, quickly follow any additional instructions they send.
- Create strong passwords. Create passwords that are at least eight characters long and use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters. Passwords should be easy to remember but difficult to guess. Consider following the National Cyber Security Centre’s three random word technique.
- Keep devices secure. Stolen devices are a common cause of business security issues. Never leave your devices unattended when in public. Even when at home, lock or log off from your computer when leaving your desk to ensure family members can’t access sensitive information.
- Avoid removable storage devices. USB drives often contain sensitive information and can easily be misplaced. Instead, opt for corporate storage or collaboration tools when transferring or storing files, such as cloud servers.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Cyber-criminals often send out ‘phishing’ emails designed to trick users into clicking a bad link. If you’re ever suspicious about a link, don’t click on it.
For more information on staying safe while working remotely, contact us today.
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