Many individuals make a significant mistake when it comes to shielding themselves from financial scams: they believe they are too intelligent to be tricked. We are all susceptible to scams under the right circumstances. Accepting this reality is the starting point for keeping yourself secure. Victims of scams span a wide range of profiles, from highly educated and high-income individuals to the most vulnerable members of society. However, you can protect yourself from financial scams if you follow certain security measures.
How to Prevent Frauds?
#1 Monitor your account
You can safeguard yourself by following basic online security practices. You should enable multi factor authentication on your financial accounts, create unique passwords, and refrain from sharing personal information such as your birthdate on the internet.
You should regularly review your financial accounts and promptly investigate any unauthorized charges. Even a small irregular charge could imply that someone has gained access to your account, indicating the potential for a larger issue.
#2 Keep your data up to date
Ensure that you keep your contact information updated with the banks, credit cards, investment firms, and other financial institutions you have dealings with. It may surprise you to know that many individuals experience fraudulent activities on their accounts without immediate detection. The main reason is outdated contact details such as an incorrect cell phone number, email, or mailing address that companies possess.
#3 Use a VPN
The VPN concept involves encrypting and redirecting traffic. Point-to-point VPN technology allows you to hide your identity, IP address, and any data you transmit. Very often hacks occur due to man-in-the-middle attacks. Point-to-point tunneling protocol prevents data interception since all information is encrypted. In terms of PPTP VPN technology, you can protect yourself from data theft, identity disclosure, and DDoS attacks. If you choose a more advanced provider like VeePN, you can protect yourself from phishing and viruses – these are additional AI-powered features.
#4 Protect your cell phone and email account
Above all else, prioritize the protection of your cell phone and email account, especially if they are used for financial purposes. If someone attempts to breach your account and reset your password, you will typically receive notifications on your cell phone or designated email. Ensure that your primary email account password is not shared with any other accounts you possess.
#5 Safeguard your smartphone
To enhance your phone’s security, enable biometric identification (such as fingerprint or facial recognition) if available. This will deter unauthorized access.
Configure your phone’s settings to redirect calls from unknown numbers to voicemail. Ensure that your voicemail is set up and has enough space to receive important messages.
Be cautious of fraudulent texts sent by scammers, who often impersonate familiar companies. Avoid responding to unsolicited business texts; instead, contact the organization directly or visit their official website.
#6 Learn to recognize scams
If someone claiming to be your electric company, bank, IRS, or charity contacts you to request a money order or credit card number for debt clearance or donations, chances are it’s a scam. You may also receive calls offering “guaranteed lower rates” or “extended warranties” for your car. Phone scams were the primary culprits among reported fraud cases involving older consumers, totaling 190,000 occurrences in 2018, compared to 30,000 for email and online scams combined, according to the FTC. Stay vigilant by visiting the FTC’s Scam Alert page to stay informed about new scams.
#7 Shred sensitive documents
You should retain your banking records, including ATM receipts, deposit slips, and mobile banking checks until you reconcile them with your monthly statement. Once you have done so, it is advisable to shred them. Securely store your monthly checking and savings account statements until you file your taxes, unless you need them to demonstrate a deduction on your tax return. It’s better to use an online VPN when you download or send them to someone. Alternatively, you can opt for eStatements, granting you access to statements online at your convenience.
#8 Watch out for links
Be cautious of unexpected links in emails or text messages that entice you to click out of fear or curiosity. Remember, trustworthy institutions like your bank, credit card company, the IRS, or FedEx will never request your login password, Social Security number, or similar information through links. If you receive an unexpected email or text that seems authentic, reach out to the company or agency using an independently verified contact number. Even simply clicking on the link could lead to your phone or computer being infected with a virus that steals your information.
This advice also applies to messages on social media platforms like Facebook. It’s common for viruses that steal information to be distributed along with messages like, “Is this you in this video?” As tempting as it may be, refrain from clicking and viewing what the sender is referring to.
Now you know how to protect yourself from financial fraud. This does not imply any specific action, but a whole strategy. The most versatile security tool is a VPN, as it can protect against many vulnerabilities, but it is not omnipotent. With an integrated approach, the risks of financial fraud can be reduced to a minimum.