If you’ve just been offered a generous amount of money over email by an anonymous person half-way across the world or have been asked to furnish your bank account details and passwords, chances are someone’s trying to take you for a ride. Let’s take a look at some simple ways by which you can protect yourself against online fraud.
Sign your card after receiving
Sign the back of your credit or debit cards after you receive them from your bank. Doing this will help ascertain whether the card any merchants return is the one you gave them since card duplication is a common method of identity theft.
Play online games carefully
Don’t give crucial information related to your identity impulsively when prompted by games and memes.
Update your mailing address
While moving places, contact your financial institutions, tax authorities and credit reporting agencies, and keep them updated with all information about your current location. Scammers use outdated personal information to sneak into your accounts.
Always use a trusted merchant while shopping online and make sure your every purchase is secured with encryption, which protects your account information. To ensure that the transaction is secure, check that the web address starts with https://.
Use the block option
If you suspect someone suspicious is trying to contact you, block them or add them to your spam list.
Don’t share bank details
Never share your bank details with anyone. Your bank will never ask you for your account number, PIN or password over email.
Invest in a good anti-virus
Use trusted anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect your computer, phones and tablets. Make sure you check regularly for software updates.
Avoid public computers for bank logins
Avoid accessing your bank accounts from a public or office computer. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to do it in private and log out from the pages after you’re done.
If you’ve been tricked online, share your experiences with family members, especially vulnerable ones like young people and the elderly.
Check credit reports annually
Review your credit reports at least once a year to ensure that no one is committing identity fraud under your name, such as applying for a loan, etc. Such activities are not reflected in your monthly card statements
Don’t carry your checkbook everywhere. Keep it with you only when you need it.
Use multiple passwords
Never keep the same passwords for online accounts such as emails, bank logins and social media accounts. Also, don’t use your date of birth or address as passwords. Such obvious details make weaker passwords which could be easily decoded. Use password managers like LastPass that keeps track of your passwords.
Memorize your ATM PIN and never write it anywhere, especially on your card.
Be careful while storing online
Although storing information online or on a shared drive can free up device memory, never use such methods to store financial details such as bank IDs and passwords or personal photographs.
Manage your credit cards
Call your bank and cancel credit cards you don’t use any longer. Destroy old cards immediately after you get a new card.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots may not be what they seem
Scammers can imitate trusted names of Wi-Fi connections, so keep aside online banking tasks while using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Download apps from reliable source
Always download a banking app from a reliable source, as it requires you to enter a lot of your confidential information.
Delete after reading
Delete all bank-related messages after reading as these carry significant confidential information about your finances
Social security number
Don’t provide your social security number unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Keep your phones password-protected
Keep a pass-code for your phones or tablets to prevent access without your permission. Also, never store your banking details on your mobile phone.
Don’t trust anyone easily
Never share your bank details or credit card information with any random salesperson over the phone.
Say no to unknown links and attachments
Beware of any suspicious link that promises to make you rich instantly, reveals classified information or is pornographic in nature. Never open attachments you don’t trust as these may infect your computer with malware.
Examine monthly statements closely
Check monthly mails containing bank and card statements for suspicious transactions. Inform your bank immediately if you spot one.
Avoid revealing personal details on social media
Avoid putting unnecessary information on your social media accounts, such as your mother’s maiden name, phone numbers or pet’s name. These help hackers break into your bank accounts.
QR codes can be fraudulent, too
Treat QR Codes as you would suspicious links: all they are is a graphical way of sending you to a website.
Treat receipts with respect
Your transaction receipts may reveal a lot more than you think. Keep them safely stacked or dispose of them securely.
Know your billing cycle
Always keep track of your billing and statement cycles and know when you’re due for a payment. Staying up-to-date with all the information will help you spot suspicious transactions faster.
Keep copies of all your cards and documents
Always keep photocopies of your financial documents and cards in a safe place, in case the originals get lost or stolen. You could use them by the time the replacements arrive.
E-bills make sense
Subscribe for e-bills. It will save you the hassles of storing hard copies which, if handled carelessly, may fall into the wrong hands.
Don’t save card details on shopping websites
It may not be convenient to punch in your card details every time you shop online, but really it’s a small price to pay considering it can save your card from being misused.
Be quick to report
A loss or theft of credit cards and other important documents should be taken very seriously. Don’t wait: inform the required authorities immediately.