Without a doubt, financial fraud poses a significant threat to the world. As experts develop more anti-fraud tools and systems, fraudsters also devise new means to trick unsuspecting victims. And if you are not careful, financial fraud could be your doom; you could be on your way to bankruptcy.
You should bear in mind that fraudsters don’t only target big companies. Indeed, private individuals are more susceptible to financial fraud. More so, many victims of financial fraud usually feel embarrassed to report that they’ve been duped. Hence, you should take preventive measures against financial fraud more seriously. Here are 6 reliable ways not to fall prey to fraudsters.
- Avoid Putting Personal Information Online
The internet is a world of unending opportunities. Unfortunately, as innocent users are looking to close deals, crafty fraudsters are also on the lookout to use personal information for illegal ends.
The very step to protecting yourself from financial fraud is to avoid putting personal information out there. As harmless as it may seem, sharing information about your workplace, location, or even birthday makes you a target for fraudulent activities. Likewise, you should ensure that sensitive data like password, username, or OTP is known to you only. Financial fraud is mainly carried out by people closest to us in the scheme of things. So, never trust anyone with such sensitive information.
In the same vein, you cannot be too careful about the kind of websites to access. Many sites on the web are not safe. Once you log in to such pages, your personal information leaks, making you prone to financial fraud. The best way to protect your energy is to surf only websites with HTTPS at the URL’s start.
- Free Public Wi-Fi Equals Free Access to Your Details
All around us, we’ve got free Wi-Fi to surf the internet. From public libraries to that favorite spot where you grab lunch, they all provide free internet access. And quite frankly, who doesn’t want free offers? But one has to be careful with public Wi-Fi.
While it could be safe to read the news or check out celebrity gossip, at no point should you use public Wi-Fi for transactions that require login details. A typical example is signing in to your bank app with public Wi-Fi. Since such Wi-Fi is not protected, you are merely giving a free pass to cybercriminals to access your login details. Hence, you should never conduct transactions that could compromise sensitive information on public W-Fi.
Alternatively, you could use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to mask your identity. If there’s an urgency to use public Wi-Fi, VPN will route your device to an entirely different server. The result of this is that fraudsters find it harder to trace your transactions, and you can prevent being defrauded.
- Shred Sensitive Documents.
Sometimes, people take precautions online but still get defrauded. Do you care to know why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Many people bask in the belief that online protection is enough in financial transactions, whereas this is a mistaken belief. All that is needed to make you a victim is information. And fraudsters can access such information through means other than the internet. So, you must be cautious.
In the world we live in today, rarely does anyone exist without an ATM card. Also, we make use of checks, deposit slips, and other financial documents. While these innovations are to make financial transactions smoother, many people have been defrauded due to their carelessness. For instance, you should never leave your boarding pass at the hotel, especially if it has a barcode. Additionally, paystubs reveal too much employees’ information which shouldn’t get into the wrong hands. A shredder might cost you some dollars, but it’s definitely going to save you from greater misfortune.
- Activate Threshold Alerts On Your Credit Card
Identity theft seems to be one of the most effective ways to perpetrate financial fraud. Once fraudsters can access your card details, they can make any transaction within your account limit.
More so, the mind-boggling thing is that it is difficult to trace such fraudulent activities to the cybercriminal.
To monitor activities on your credit card, you can request a bank alert anytime your credit card is used. Immediately you discover unauthorized use; you can quickly disable the compromised card and contact your bank for further actions.
Of course, cybercriminals are humans like you. But they are clever and highly skilled. These bad guys often conduct minor transactions to check your account threshold or even if you are attentive. If you are not observant, fraudsters can run your finances aground in the twinkle of an eye. So, regular checks on account activity and balance are crucial to keeping financial fraud in check.
- Beware Of Investments With Unbelievable Returns
One of the surest ways to make more money is through investments. However, such investment must be registered, verified, and legal. Greed is an inherent human trait, and fraudsters know exactly how to feed that desire. You must have heard of Ponzi schemes that left investors shattered and hopeless. Many of these victims were promised mouth-watering returns. But such investments usually end in disaster.
Before investing with any person, company, or agency, you should do due diligence. For example, is such a party licensed? Are they registered brokerages or financial institutions? If the returns are too good to be true, you should probably back off and avoid being swindled of your hard-earned money.
- Be Cautious Of Suspicious Texts and Links.
Unlike in the past, phishing is now more sophisticated. Phishing is done when cybercriminals pose as a trusted company through email, SMS, or internet links to get sensitive information from naive victims. Thus, it would be best if you were cautious of such texts. Until you’ve verified that the phone call or email is from a trusted source, never be in a hurry to roll out personal information.
Similarly, it would help if you always avoided suspicious links. Malvertising is now becoming increasingly popular. Once you click on such links, malware is downloaded to your device, and hackers can access your personal information without hindrance.
The Bottom Line
There’s one common practice peculiar to the majority. We use the same password for our favorite shopping sites, emails, and even bank apps. It is worthy of note that this pattern poses a significant risk to your finances. Once cybercriminals successfully access one of your accounts, it takes that they can hack others. Therefore, you should use complicated passwords for multiple sites. And it doesn’t end there. You can also activate two-step verification for your accounts.
Furthermore, fraudsters may slip through your fortress. What matters at such a moment is to take immediate action. Contact your bank to deactivate your debit or credit card and request that they investigate such fraudulent activity.