4 ways to protect your money from online fraud
The rise of online bins means that more people and organizations than ever are handling their money online. Making online transactions and managing your financial wealth is often much more convenient than having to physically go to a store or bank. We are no longer limited to taking care of our shopping and finances within a time frame of 9:00 PM to 5:00 PM – we can make online payments and transfer money anywhere in the world at any time of the day.
But as digital technology grows, so does the risk of online threats. Cash stored in online bank accounts, credit card details and other digitally managed assets are at risk of attack by cyber criminals. It is therefore essential that you take all necessary steps to ensure that you protect your information from fraudulent activity. But how exactly do you protect your money against online fraud? We’ve listed four things to help you avoid losing your money to cybercriminals.
1: Know the Common Scams
If you want to protect your money from online attacks, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most common scams used by criminals. Keeping up to date with the latest scamming tricks will keep you one step ahead and increase your chances of warding off malicious hackers in the future.
Common online scams that can put your money at risk include catfishing, scams, phishing, quick money making, fake antivirus software and tech support, fake shopping sites and much, much more.
Online dating fraud – often referred to as ‘catfishing’ in popular culture – is becoming more prevalent in our digital world and unfortunately saw an increase during the pandemic lockdowns when people were lonelier and more vulnerable. When someone is ‘catfished’, they have fallen victim to a scammer who often poses as a potential love interest. Scammers who catfish will charm their target to trick them into dating them. Once they bond, they claim they have money problems and encourage the victim to send them cash.
Make sure to be vigilant for phishing scams, which are often used by criminals to steal banking information. Sent via email, text, or phone call, phishing messages contain fraudulent information designed to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software onto their device.
Similar to phishing scams are money transfer scams. These usually come in the form of an email asking the victim to send a sum of money, with the promise of a significant return. As predicted, such a return does not manifest itself, and the victim loses his money.
These are some of the most common online scams; but remember that criminals are always coming up with new forms of cheating to steal your money so make sure to stay informed so you are prepared.
2: Get Protection
A good way to reduce the risk of losing your money to fraud is to use software that detects criminal activity on your account. Consider using a service that: account takeover prevention, which can avert fraud attacks before they even get underway. Such prevention methods protect your information by detecting malicious login attempts from both humans and bots and give you the peace of mind that your hard-earned money is much safer.
3: Do not provide any personal information
Never give out personal information – such as your bank account information or passwords – online or over the phone. If you receive correspondence from your bank requesting personal information, always treat it with caution – check with your bank to confirm that the message you received is indeed from them before responding. Also, never store your credit card information or passwords in unencrypted email accounts; you also may not store your password in plain text on a file on your computer, telephone, or any other electronic device.
Also be careful what you share on social media. You may want to show all your friends your new driver’s license after you pass your exam, but sharing a picture of it on your profile can be a risky move. As a general rule, don’t share images of anything that contains any personal identifiers, such as passports, college admissions cards — even college acceptance letters and exam results can be unsafe. Make sure your social media settings are set to private and turn off your location settings.
If you suspect that you have become a victim of online fraud, report it to the police via: Action fraud if you live in the UK.
4: Update passwords
Changing your passwords and PINs regularly is a good way to reduce the risk of online fraud. Consider updating them every six months and make sure they are hard to crack. Never use obvious characters, such as your phone number, zip code, mother’s maiden name, or the like. These passwords are easy to decipher and put your money and information at risk. Always choose a completely random password to better protect yourself.
There will always be vicious opportunistic criminals who will use trickery in an attempt to steal your money. As long as you are aware of the latest scams and follow all of our advice, you should be able to protect your money from online fraud.