How to protect your online privacy

In 2019, it is estimated there were 3.8 million incidents of fraud in England and Wales, with evidence of a rising trend also seen in other data sources. 

In this guide, IPS breaks down the many ways you can help protect your online privacy as well as reducing and stopping scams. 

Protect your friends by sharing this article with them:



Update your device’s software

Make sure you have updated the software on your devices. When a pop-up that says ‘update now’, click or tap to accept. This will help plug security holes in the software or operating system.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi if possible

Public Wi-Fi networks usually do not encrypt traffic, and that means anyone on the same network can try and snoop on your traffic. Avoid transmitting any sensitive data (logins, passwords, credit card data etc.) over public Wi-Fi, you can use it for general browsing, but never use it for shopping. Use a VPN such as NordVPN* to encrypt your data and protect it from prying eyes.

Secure surfing/SSL

When checking your email or conducting any important transactions, adding an ‘s” after “http” may give you a secured connection to the webpage. Many webmail services provide this feature. This ensures that your login details are encrypted thereby rendering it useless to hackers. Although your email login may be encrypted, some webmail providers may not encrypt your inbox and messages.

Two-factor authentication

Adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts. Once you enter your password, you’ll get a code sent to your phone to make sure it’s you. This helps prevent account takeovers from hackers.

Register with the tools and services we have highlighted below



Install Anti-Virus and Firewall softwares*

Such as Norton AntiVirus Plus,  McAfee, and Bitdefender These are computer programs used to prevent, detect and remove malware.


This is the first line of defence against vulnerabilities created by Wi-Fi. A VPN provides encryption over an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection. This will help ensure that all web pages visited, log-on details, and contents of email messages remain encrypted. This renders intercepted traffic useless to the hacker. You can obtain software to set up a VPN through your office or home computer, or you can use a commercial provider’s hosted VPN service. Use NordVPN, Surfshark or Express VPN to avoid internet tracking.

Do Not Track (DNT) setting

DNT is a way to keep your online activity from being followed across the Internet by advertisers, analytics companies and social media sites. When you turn on the DNT setting in your browser, your browser sends a special header to websites requesting that you don’t want your activity tracked. Unfortunately, honouring the DNT setting is voluntary. Individual websites are not required to respect it. While a few will honour it, most websites will ignore your preference.

Cifas Protective Registration

Once you have protective registration, Cifas place a flag alongside your name and personal details in their secure National Fraud Database. Companies and organisations who are signed up as members of the database will see you are at risk and take extra steps to protect you. See Protective Registration application form. This service costs £25 for two years.


Make a complaint

Information Commissioners Office

If you are concerned about the use of cookies on a website, you can report your concerns to the Information Commissioners Office

Citizens Advice

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, you should report it to the Citizens Advice

Action Fraud

As well as Citizens Advice, you should report any scams to Action Fraud, this increases the chance of scammers being caught and stopped

*This article contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through one of these links IPS is paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Have your say

As an IPS member, you can leave us your thoughts, comments and experiences in the commments section below

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.