There is nothing good about fraud, and yet sometimes we glorify it when major financial institutions fall victim to it. Our growing distrust of the banking system is perhaps the explanation, but multi-billion dollar heists hurt ordinary people just as much as wealthy bankers, if not more.
Our friends at fortunly.com have studied countless banking hacks throughout history, and the usual offenders are average individuals with above-average computer skills. No matter how relatable we find these fraudsters, they are no Robin Hood. They often do it for their own gain at the expense of innocent consumers.
Now that the financial ecosystem is going digital and mobile, committing large-scale fraud has become so much easier. While large institutions use technology to combat data breaches, our greatest weapon is common sense. Below are some of the things you should do to protect your money and sensitive information from scammers.
1. Mind Your Debit Card Payments
Debit cards are some of the riskiest payment tools today. They are also the most popular in the United States. According to a recent study, 51% of Americans use debit cards for gas money. In comparison, just 37% primarily use credit cards.
Any form of plastic is susceptible to fraud, especially when the transaction involves swiping the card and entering the PIN. While debit card and credit card users are protected by the law, the first group has to absorb greater personal liability for fraudulent charges.
Thanks to tokenization, mobile payment systems provide better data security. If you do not want to pay for fuel with cash, go mobile when using your debit card.
2. Read the URLs of Credit-Related Services
Managing your creditworthiness matters, but be careful where you get your free credit reports and seek credit-monitoring services. Scammers often pretend to be legitimate credit brands exercising due diligence. Before clicking any link, hover over it to see the URL and determine whether the landing web page is reliable.
3. Avoid Responding to Cold Calls, Emails, and Text Messages
As a general rule, do not share your debit card or credit card information to anyone in any conversation you did not initiate. Although not everyone that sends outbound communications is a scammer, it is hard to tell who isn’t.
When you receive a suspicious message asking for your credentials, call your bank or credit card issuer’s customer service hotline. Verify it with them, and report any fishy phone, email, or SMS correspondence.
4. Monitor Your Bills
Pay attention to the items on your credit card billing statements to spot unauthorized charges right away. Also, make a habit of reviewing your bank activity online to catch questionable debits early and address them urgently.
5. Do Not Believe Every Blockchain Project You See
Investing in crypto assets comes with a lot of risk, but pretentious blockchain companies pose an even bigger threat to your finances. Having an unhelpful white paper, leeching off popular cryptocurrencies, and claiming unbelievable potential returns are common signs that the people behind an initial coin offering aim to rip off investors.
Tamara Backovic. Content Specialist at fortunly.com. Pizza addict, comic books and fantasy enthusiast. When I leave my basic nerd cocoon, I like to be in the know about the latest trends, and struggles, of the startup phenomenon and contribute to the wonderful tech community.