Ten Top Tips To Help Protect Yourself From Fraud
Fraud comes in many forms, whether it be online con artists, scammers or fraudsters, there are plenty of people out there who are keen to get their mits on our money. Bank fraud is continuing to grow, and now more than ever we need to be especially vigilant in order to prevent criminals from stealing our money or trapping us in fraudulent credit applications.
There are some warning signs to look out for if you think you could be a victim of fraud. However, they are not always obvious and you have to make sure you are on top of your financial situation to be able to spot them. Make sure you check your statements each month and look into any unusual activity.
Here are my top tips to follow in order to help protect yourself against fraud!
– First things first, get into the habit of shredding all of your receipts and anything else with your name, address or card details on so none of your vital information can fall into the wrong hands! Be aware that junk mail often has some personal details on too so it might be worth sticking that in the shredder too.
– Be extra careful abroad, especially if you are travelling to America as they have a higher rate of fraud. Consider using a prepaid credit card, cash or a card with a low credit rating. Do not use your everyday bank card as fraudsters would then have access to your savings and that’s the last thing you need to be worrying about while you’re away!
– Be sure to sign up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option whilst shopping online! You may of already noticed this, it involves you registering a password with your card company and adds that extra layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.
– Protect your passwords! It’s a good idea to use different passwords for different things so that if one account happens to get hacked, the criminals don’t automatically have access to all of your other accounts. Also consider changing them regularly for added security.
– Use secure sites only. Only secure sites will change from http to https at the beginning of their url when it loads. Look out for this before you decide to purchase something online! Also make sure you protect your computer with antivirus software and firewall protection before you put your bank details in anywhere online.
– Lots of you will already be keeping tabs on your financial statements, which is good because this is often the first place people will spot unauthorized activity. However, if somebody is using your information to commit identity fraud like taking out a loan or applying for credit cards, it may not show up on your financial statements. For this reason I’d recommend checking your credit reports at least once a year! By doing this you can make sure that the information is correct and there’s no alarming activity.
– Be sure to cut up all of your old debit or credit cards and cheque books. Cut through the magnetic strip and security number on the back. By doing this you will prevent anyone else from being able to use them in the unlikely event that you are burgled! Do the same with cheque books.
– It is a good idea to photocopy any important documents such as your passport, driving license and other personal documents. This means that if your belongings are ever stolen, you can get your identity back quickly! This will also mean that the thieves won’t be able to use your documents for their own gain.
– Be aware of phishing. Phishing is a trick in which spam or pop-ups pose as legitimate banks or businesses in a desperate bid to obtain your personal information. If they fool you into handing your information over, they will then use it to access your accounts. So again, always verify that you’re on a familiar website with security controls before you enter any bank details or personal data!!
– Another thing to be aware of is ‘skimming’! This is a trick used by fraudsters where they obtain your card details by swiping your card in a device that copies all details. Whenever you pay by card in restaurants, shops or petrol stations, make sure you keep your eye on your card at all times and make sure it has only been swiped once!
Even if you do follow all of these steps, it is still possible to fall victim, although much less likely! If you suspect any unusual activity, don’t panic. The trick is to act fast and not give the situation the benefit of the doubt. Contact your bank straight away so they can help put a stop to it immediately.