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Fraud Is Knocking. Don’t Answer!

By Kevin Mills, Director of Security

Online/electronic fraud is the fastest growing type of security threat worldwide today. Often, victims unwittingly provide the very information or access that these criminals need to perpetuate their crimes. While fraudsters will continue to evolve and design new security threats, there are some very simple tips that can help you avoid most risks.

  1. NEVER share your personal or financial information in an e-mail. Banks or other financial services companies NEVER ask for this information to be provided or confirmed by email. If you receive this kind of request in an email, it is likely fraudulent.
  2. NEVER click on links in emails where you don’t know the sender, OR if they come from a known email address but the contents seem strange. Computer viruses are often spread by sending emails from a known contact that contains a link that will download a virus or spyware. DON’T click on links that you are not sure of! (pause and think before clicking)
  3. Sharing even one piece of your financial information (such as an account number or login) can be the last piece of a puzzle that fraudsters need to access your accounts. Protect ALL your personal information and share on a ‘need to know’ basis and ONLY with reputable companies and individuals when you have initiated the transaction.
  4. Don’t use your email address as a login or user name if you have another option. Avoid ‘common’ passwords such as a pet’s name or family name, as this can be easily detected by fraudsters who may access Facebook postings, school records, etc. Use a complex password, and use varying passwords for logins to financial accounts.
  5. Check your financial account activity regularly, and report any unusual transactions or discrepancies immediately to your financial institution or account provider.
  6. Invest in reputable anti-virus / anti-spyware software, especially on a computer where you are accessing any online financial accounts.
  7. If you suspect that your information has been compromised, that you may have a computer virus, or that you’ve replied to an inquiry or email that puts you at risk, contact ALL your financial providers immediately. Waiting a day or two to see if a problem develops gives thieves all the time they need.
  8. If you suspect a problem, your financial services provider can assist you in putting a ‘fraud alert’ on your accounts and provide other tips for protection or recovery if needed. You may also add a 90-day Security Alert to each of the 3 credit bureau consumer reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, & TransUnion for heightened security.

So, if fraud comes knocking, don’t be an accomplice – remember these simple tips to protect yourself and your financial accounts. The time you take to think, ask questions, and verify can be the best investment you make in your financial security.

Posted by Lisa Meiers on 04/07 at 09:33 AM

 

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