3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud

With more of our lives being spent online, cases of identity theft have skyrocketed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the losses from impersonation scams tripled over the last three years. In this article, we discuss three ways to guard against financial fraud.

 

Be Cautious About Giving Out Information

To reduce the odds of being a fraud victim, be extremely cautious about sharing information. Best practices include:

  • When you receive calls or emails requesting sensitive information, make sure to verify that it is a trusted source.
  • An important precaution is to verbally verify any instructions when they are received via email or text.
  • When you receive calls from a company or someone claiming to be the IRS (the IRS will not initiate contact with you through a call), remember that phone numbers can be spoofed, and you should take extra steps to verify that the call is legitimate.
  • If you are unsure about a request, hang up and dial back the person or company through a number you know is correct.
  • Avoid entering sensitive information into public computers (such as log-ins and passwords) as the may have software installed that can collect this information.
  • Before you click on any links, look to see if the email or text is from a trusted source and if the address looks valid.

 

Monitor Activity

A key part of limiting the damage from financial fraud is identifying it when it happens. Regularly monitoring your accounts can help identify fraudulent activity.

  • Review your bank and credit card statements each month.
  • Set up alerts to monitor your credit reports. You can even place a security freeze on your credit reports to protect criminals from accessing them.
  • Put in place alerts for your bank and credit cards to alert you about transactions of a certain size or changes in your account set up.

 

Strong Passwords & Logins

In an effort to protect your accounts, follow best practices when it comes to logins and passwords. Your passwords should meet the following criteria:

  • Length is important and password should be at least 16 characters long, utilizing a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Be hard to guess.
  • Use different passwords for each account. This will reduce your risk if a breach occurs, and your password is revealed.
  • Utilize a password manager to make it easier to remember these complex passwords.
  • Always turn on two-factor authentication when available. Preferably, using an authentication app on your phone.

 

Takeaways

With online activity increasing, financial fraud has grown dramatically. It is important to be proactive in protecting yourself and your accounts. Following these actions will put you on the path to defending your information. If you would like to talk to a financial planner about your plan to protest yourself against fraud, please schedule a call with us here.

 

 

 

The information contained herein is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not exhaustive. Diversification and/or any strategy that may be discussed does not guarantee against investment losses but are intended to help manage risk and return. If applicable, historical discussions and/or opinions are not predictive of future events. The content is presented in good faith and has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The content is not intended to be legal, tax or financial advice. Please consult a legal, tax or financial professional for information specific to your individual situation.

Advisory services offered through Financial Life Management, LLC – Doing Business As – SummitView Advisors, a Michigan registered investment adviser. The adviser may not transact business in states where it is not appropriately registered, excluded or exempted from registration. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment advisory services. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein.