Nowadays, one often hears about people being duped of their money through their bank accounts and credit or debit cards. With technology making finances easier but conversely, also making us more vulnerable to scamsters, there is no shortage of schemes being rolled out by fraudsters looking to entrap the gullible.
Given that transactions can now also be made over the internet, and all your financial records and finances can be accessed online by you and through you, you need to be all the more cautious about protecting yourself against financial scams and frauds.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself against the host of financial scams and frauds prevalent around the globe:
- Do not share your financial details.
One of the most fundamental rules to follow to protect yourself against financial scams is to refrain from sharing your financial details with strangers or anyone you do not trust. This is known as phishing, where the victim is targeted over email, telephone, or text messages to reveal their sensitive financial information. This information can be misused to make transactions from your accounts and defraud you.
The government and banks regularly make efforts to educate the general public against sharing the details of their bank accounts, debit/credit card PINs, internet banking details, passwords, etc. with others. Pay heed to these to prevent losing your hard-earned money.
- Use strong passwords and update them regularly.
Given that passwords secure all your financial accounts, you can safeguard yourself against fraud and scams by setting tough-to-crack passwords. A combination of upper- and lower-case letters with numerals and symbols makes for a stringent password. Avoid using passwords, which can be easily guessed by a stranger or someone close to you. If possible, use double tier protection along with your password, which includes a security question to which only you know the answer. Additionally,
- Do not open unknown emails.
Often you will find emails in your inbox that will appear suspicious. If you think the email is from an unknown source, consider not opening it. While a lot of emails will get filtered into your spam box, some fraud emails do manage to circumvent the filters and make their way into your inbox, where you will end up opening them.
Some of these emails may come with hyperlinks that will redirect you to another website, asking you to give your financial information or may have attachments you will need to download. Emails with such types of requests are best deleted even if they appear to be from your bank or financial institution. These emails are just another type of scam.
- Do not click on pop-ups.
Your internet browser or the email may show a pop-up window when you open it with promising offers. Remember never to open these pop-ups as they may be potential financial scams.
Often, they contain links to alternative websites that seek information about your bank accounts or request you to donate for a cause. These are not reliable and are only intended to defraud you of your money. You can also go to your browser settings and block all pop-ups. This will keep you from accidentally opening pop-ups as well.
- Shop only with trusted e-commerce retailers
Online shopping is all the rage nowadays, and what adds to the convenience of this kind of shopping is the ease of making payments online. However, be very wary of making payments to any e-commerce retailer as not all of these sites may be secure and may reveal your information to third parties who may defraud you. Additionally, some of these platforms themselves might not be genuine and could only by phishing for your account details.
Hence, you should shop only from trusted e-commerce retailers. Also, avoid saving your payment information on such websites. If you are suspicious of the site you are buying from, choose the cash on a delivery option instead of making an online payment, which can render you vulnerable to financial fraud.
- Make sure the websites you are visiting are safe.
Aside from being cautious about making payment online when shopping, another way to keep yourself protected against financial scams is to ensure that the websites you are visiting are secure. On the address bar of your internet browser, there is a sign, either in the form of a symbol or a word, which identifies if the website is secure or not. If you have an updated spyware and antivirus system, you will automatically be saved from visiting such sites.
- Do not make donations or payments on unknown websites.
There are several advertisements and appeals continually doing the rounds on social media and on the internet seeking donations for a medical patient with an expensive surgery or treatment procedure they cannot afford, for building infrastructure for financially weaker populations, etc.
Often these websites are a fraud as they are only looking for your financial information. Keep away from such sites that ask you to share sensitive financial information such as bank account details and passwords with them.
- Keep an eye on all your accounts.
Routinely monitor all your accounts and credit/debit cards for transactions done on these. Seek mobile and email alerts for all transactions done on your bank accounts and credit/debit cards which will let you know immediately if any transaction has occurred without your knowledge.
Also carefully go over your monthly statements to check for any discrepancies. If you find any transaction that has been done without your knowledge, report it to the concerned authorities immediately.
- Don’t fall for Ponzi scams
Any scheme that promises to double your money in an unbelievably short time is sure to be a financial scam. Do not fall for these scams by making any payments for such schemes or share your financial information with such people, organizations or websites. Be very careful about where you invest your money and research adequately about the plan and the terms and conditions to avoid putting yourself in trouble.
- Educate yourself
Nothing works better at protecting yourself against financial scams and frauds like financial literacy. No matter how old you are, it is always a good idea to read up and research on ways to keep yourself safe against scams and frauds.
Read up all advisories given out by the government bodies as well as by banks, lending, and other financial institutions so you can arm yourself against scamsters. Learn to use the information to your advantage.
The golden rule when it comes to saving yourself against financial scams is to research adequately before paying and avoiding sharing of information about your accounts. If you follow the tips we have compiled for you with diligence, you will be safe from the various scams doing the rounds and keep your hard-earned money secure.
Aahna Gandhi is an enthusiast traveller, writer and a PR Professional. She likes sharing memorable moments from her travels and inspire others to live a life full of wonder. Known for her content, she has worked for travel, technology, lifestyle, health sectors as well as finance.
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