Are you doing your very best to avoid being
scammed? Every year, millions of people are affected by tax, bank,
phone, and credit card fraud, and statistics are not showing a decrease in
Unfortunately, the advancement of technology
has created many loopholes that can make fraud attempts easier than ever
before. We all love to use our computers and cell phones, but if we don’t take
the proper steps to secure the data within them, then we are giving a free pass
to those who want to use our information against us.
Fortunately, there are many tips you can use
to decrease the chances of consumer fraud, and they are easier than you may
Spot Potential Fraud
Every day, scammers are coming up with new
approaches to successfully commit consumer fraud, so understanding how
to spot potential fraud can go a long way to keeping your
information safe. One of the primary ways that scammers will try to contact you
is through email. It is a tactic called phishing. If you ever get an email from
any financial institution asking for personal
information — crypto-related or otherwise — consider that a red flag.
Scammers will work hard to make the email look
real by including the company logo and a fake email address with the
institution’s name thrown in. However, keep in mind that a legitimate financial
institution will never email you asking for personal information. Even with
that said, if you are concerned that it may be a scam email, call the financial
institution to confirm. Never blindly respond to an email if you have the
slightest doubt of its legitimacy.
Many phishing emails will include hyperlinks
or attachments, do not click or open any of these. An attachment may include a
virus, and a hyperlink could lead you to a dangerous site or a fake Bitcoin
wallet. As a safety step, if you think an email is on the shady side, hover
your mouse over the real-looking hyperlink, and you can see the fake website
Here are a few other ways to detect
potentially fraudulent activity:
Financial websites should have
HTTPS at the top and not HTTP. The latter means the site is not encrypted and
could be dangerous.
Websites that promise to double
your bitcoin overnight likely aren’t legitimate.
Ponzi sites that promise to give you free money if you invite other users to join — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Data Security on Mobile Apps
Over the years, there has been a rise in
fintech (financial technology) and mobile finance solutions aimed at making the
consumer’s life easier. However, with new technology comes new opportunities
for consumer fraud. Consumers are not blind to these new privacy concerns, and
many of them may decide not to use a mobile app if they think it will threaten
their security. This is why it is equally vital that financial companies ensure
their mobile apps are secure.
For one, financial companies should make sure
that only the most essential personal information is stored on an app and that
users understand that their personal information is only used to make the app
more useful for their needs. There also should be the option for a customer to
refuse to include any of their personal information if they do not feel
comfortable doing so. Finally, a company should always have their privacy
policies available to the user.
When it comes to fraud via mobile apps, it is
also on the consumers to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios. Most important
of which is to keep your phone with you and to have it immediately shut down if
it is stolen, as it will be a treasure trove of information to fraudsters.
Users should also have a secure lock screen with a complex PIN or password as
criminals can sometimes gain access to your device and plant malware
without having physical access to your device.
Prevention & Safe Record Keeping
When it comes to avoiding consumer fraud, the
best course of action is to be proactive, so you don’t have to be reactive when
a breach occurs. It is essential to take all necessary precautions to make sure
that this info never gets in the wrong hands. Always be aware of potential
threats, whether you are out on the road or in your home office.
Fraudsters can use just about any form of
information to turn your life upside down. A few basic tips to keeping your
information secure include:
Limiting the number of credit cards you have.
Closing accounts you no longer use.
Having a lockable mailbox
Shredding any old bills or unused pre-approved credit card options.
Avoid putting your social security card in your wallet or the number on your driver’s license, checks, or any other items that can be easily stolen.
In the end, it is all about safe record keeping. Any physical information
with personal data including social security numbers and other account numbers
should be stored in a secure place like a safe or a safety deposit box.
Electronic records on your computer must also be secured with complex passwords
and proper antivirus software that has updates
automatically downloaded and installed when necessary.
As you can see, the advancement of technology
can be a blessing and a curse. Tech can help our lives be more efficient, but
if not used properly, it can also open doors to the bad guys. Take a proactive
approach to the security of your data and personal information and put such
worries to the back of your mind.