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According to a 2019 study, around 15 million Americans suffer from some form of identity fraud each year. Victims of fraud often have to pay steep financial costs, with victims paying a total of $1.7 billion in 2018.
As technology advances, the techniques that crooks use continue to advance as well. What can you do to stay safe?
Keep reading for a list of seven fraud prevention tips.
1. Be Vigilant
One of the best things you can do to stay safe from fraud is to be on the lookout for different forms of bait. This is the number one way that hackers attempt to gain access to your information.
Fraudsters have a number of different tactics they use to try and gain your trust. This includes claiming that they have a picture of you, sending messages from someone you trust, and being the winner of a competition or contest that you didn’t sign up for.
If you see any red flags or suspect that something is off, don’t open the sender’s message or any attachments that they’ve included. If possible, confirm over another form of communication that their message is legitimate.
2. Be Smart With Your Passwords
Take a look at the different passwords you use for websites. Are they complex, containing letters, special characters, and numbers? If they aren’t, hackers will have an easy time cracking into your accounts.
A 2019 study by Avast revealed that 83% of Americans don’t use complex passwords. Make sure to avoid common passwords, such as “password”, as well as numbers such as “123”. You should also avoid using the same password for different websites.
Some web browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome come with password managers. These create lengthy and hard to crack passwords that the web browsers store in a secure server, making it hard for hackers to break in.
3. Visit Sites With HTTPS
When you’re browsing the web, have you noticed that some websites feature an “S” after the HTTP, while others don’t? That “S” stands for secure, and it can make a big difference in keeping your information safe.
Whenever you enter personal information or make a payment, ensure that the address bar has the “S”. This will keep your data safe from hackers and fraudsters who want to steal it.
Some web browsers display the “S” in different ways. Make sure you know how the browser you use shows you that the website is secure.
4. Stay up to Date on the Latest Scams
One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to scammers and fraud is by staying up to date on their latest schemes. This will allow you to recognize their tactics and avoid their tricks.
Fraudsters can pretend to be a variety of different individuals or organizations, from the government and local charities to dating services and tech assistance groups. In most cases, a red flag is when they ask you to provide unnecessary personal information.
In many cases, scammers also take advantage of the latest forms of technology. However, the tactics that they use stay the same. This means that as long as you have common sense and practice ordinary fraud prevention tactics, you shouldn’t have a problem.
On account of COVID-19, crooks have developed a number of new scamming tactics. Check out this guide on SBA EIDL Loan fraud abuse.
5. Don’t Share Your Personal Information
Whenever a website asks you to share your personal information, you should be cautious. Most websites don’t need this information, meaning that in many cases, it’s a sign of attempted fraud.
Middle names, financial information, birthdays, and addresses are some of the pieces of information that hackers often attempt to weed out of you. Be aware of who you give this information out to.
Aside from government websites, you shouldn’t trust any site that asks for your social security number, birth certificate information, or driver’s license number.
6. Don’t Trust Random IT Phone Calls
The internet isn’t the only playground that hackers and fraudsters use to try and steal your information. In some instances, they can also use the phone.
Another tactic that scammers use is to call you and inform you that your computer needs maintenance. They then get remote access to your device. They may tell you that they need to update your operating system, fix a problem that they’ve discovered, or offer to speed up your computer.
After gaining control, they can then hold your computer for ransom, forcing you to pay money. However, the problems don’t end there, as they then use your financial information to do whatever they wish. Hanging up on these sorts of calls is the best prevention method.
7. Watch Out for Payment Requests
If you’re attempting to make a payment on a website, make sure you stay on the lookout for strange payment methods. Fraudsters often require the use of non-traditional payment methods as authorities struggle to track them.
Gift cards, iTunes cards, and bitcoins are some payment options that hackers enjoy using. If a website forces you to use one of these payment methods, they may be trying to take your money.
Any reputable site will process credit cards or allow the use of a payment service such as PayPal.
Practice These Fraud Prevention Tips to Stay Safe
No matter who you are or what type of life you lead, crooks can trick you into sending money or sharing your personal information with them. This means that you can never be too careful when it comes to fraud prevention. By following this guide and these fraud prevention tips, you’ll know how to stay safe.
If you found this article to be helpful, don’t forget to take a look at some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.