The internet can sometimes seem like a daunting place to keep your money - with tales of phishing, fraud and hacking constantly in the press.

So you need to take a few simple steps to make sure nobody unauthorised gets their hands on your online accounts.

Step 1. Keep your computer secure

Make sure you have

  • anti-virus software and a personal firewall installed on your computer (these often come packaged with operating systems like Windows - but do check).
  • spyware-detection software. Spyware (sometimes called malware) means hidden programs that can cause annoying pop-ups or record details of what you type on your keyboard.

Run these from time to time to make sure they are kept up to date.

Step 2. Always keep your passwords and PINs secret

It sounds obvious, but never give these to anyone, including your family members and friends, or anyone who asks you for them over the phone.

Step 3. Beware of spoof emails and phishing attempts.

Phishing is what happens when fraudsters send out emails which claim to be from a bank or other financial institution. These often contain dire threats about your account being on the point of suspension, and they invariably include a link or login button. This will appear to be a link to your account but it will actually open a carefully-disguised fake website, which will then steal any login details which you type into it.

Because of this, whenever you login to your online account, always do so through this website or through a bookmark which you’ve saved previously.

Standard Life will also never send you any email that asks you for security details or other confidential information. If you ever receive an email like this, don’t respond to it or visit any site which it may link to. Read our security information to find out what you should do.

Step 4. Install patches and security updates

Software companies like Microsoft or Mozilla often issue updates (known as a patch) to fix security problems discovered in internet browsers and operating systems. Make sure you keep up to date with these by checking on the supplier's website or setting up automatic updates on your computer.

Step 5. Raise your awareness on safer home computing

The following websites provide further information on safer home computing:

Our websites are secure

  • We use 256 bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. This securely encodes and decodes the content flowing between your computer and our website. When you go to our online servicing page, you’ll notice that the internet address in your browser’s address bar changes from http to https. This means that all communications within that site are encrypted.
  • We also use Extended Validation SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates on many of our secured websites. If this is in use, you’ll see the URL address bar turn green - which provides better assurance that you’re visiting an authentic website.