According to the U.S. Department of Justice, millions of people fall victim to fraud each year. When it comes to your money, you can never be too careful about preventing fraud. next time you make a transaction or log into your online bank account consider these 5 steps courtesy of Laura Woods at NerdWallet:
1.) Exercise caution with passwords
While it’s easier to use the same password for every online account, it puts you at risk for fraud. Avoid using the same password for any two accounts containing sensitive information. It’s also wise to change your passwords often, as an extra security measure. While you change passwords, avoid any easy passwords such as “123456” or “password”, which top Splashdata’s list of the worst passwords of 2013.
2.) Be a savvy online shopper
Shopping online is quick, easy and convenient, but it’s important to do it wisely. Only shop at reputable, secure sites that you trust, whenever possible. If you question the legitimacy of a company or a person even the slightest, do an online search to ensure they’re reputable. And remember to always choose a credit card over a debit card when paying online, as it limits your liability in case of theft. Review all your credit card statements in a timely manner to ensure no unauthorized charges are made.
3.) Go straight to the source, instead of through an email
Online criminals are notorious for sending emails that look exactly like ones from your bank, credit card company or other financial institutions in an attempt to access your personal data. As these emails can be very difficult to distinguish from legitimate ones, it’s always wise to go straight to the site itself, instead of clicking a link in an email. One click can give criminals access to your personal data, essentially providing them with the key information to your online financial accounts.
4.) Demand extra security
Not all cashiers ask to see your ID when paying with a credit or debit card. This means anyone who gets their hands on your card can typically get away with using it for in-store purchases. Combat this by writing “see ID” on the back of your card, so cashiers are forced to ask for it. While it may cause you a little extra hassle, it’s well worth it to keep your money safe, as there’s little chance a thief will be able to produce another form of identification with your name on it ─ especially one that matches your signature.
5.) Shred important documents before tossing
If you think your trash is safe from theft ─ think again. Throwing away credit card offers, old bank statements, utility bills, and other documents containing your personal information gives dumpster divers easy access to your data. Criminals can use this data to open credit cards in your name, using their own contact information, so you’ll never even know it happened until you check your credit report.
Fight back against fraud
You can never be too careful when safeguarding your assets against fraud. It’s important to always be on your guard to ensure all your bases are covered. When the safety of your money is in question, it’s much better to be overly cautious.