If you have ever been a victim of fraud, the first two thoughts that comes to mind are: “How did this happen to me?” and “What could I have done to protect myself?”. Both questions are valid and can lead individuals to learning and executing tips to prevent the same circumstances from happening again.
Here are eight practical tips that you can start using to fight fraud and will hamper fraudsters from making you a target for their next scam.
1. Shred Your Financial Documents
Fraudsters only need one bank statement to gain access to your account. As a result, they will go through your garbage and recycling bin to find your statements. With this in mind, you should shred the documents to the point that they cannot be put together especially find out vital details such as your address, client number, account number and the amount of money in the account. Consider disposing the pieces of paper with the details in another bin or in the garbage.
2. Be Aware of Where You Shop
Although you should be always be looking for the best deal possible on or offline, some locations should be avoided due to a number of fraud related factors such as defective products and a lack of a return policy. If you are aware of such locations, attempt not to shop there on a regular basis. In circumstances that you select to shop at a questionable store, be sure to record when you were there and how much money you spent.
3. Change Your PIN
It is good practice to change your personal identification number (PIN) that you use when you are at the bank machine. There are questionable machines located in different places (that are not affiliated with bank) which fraudsters to try to steal your PIN to gain access to money in your account. It is best to change your PIN every few months.
4. Shop On A Secure Website
To ensure that you are shopping on a credible website and not a fraudulent online store, be sure to look for signs of online security. The two signs that you should be able to see are an image of a padlock where you enter your username and password, ’https:// ‘ at the beginning of the webpage address after you login to the site. If the online store does not have both elements, you will be taking a very high risk of being a victim of online fraud.
5. Ask Precise Questions To Cold Callers
Getting unwanted calls from individuals that are trying to sell you something or award a prize? The best approach to deal with such calls is to ask precise questions about the company or organization that the individuals are calling from. If you are not able to get the answers to your questions, be persistent. Either the individual will give you a clear answer or end the call knowing the conversation is not successful in terms of obtaining information to commit the fraud.
6. Monitor Your Accounts
If you happen to have more than one bank or credit accounts that you do not use on a regular basis, be sure to monitor them for credit and debit transactions. By simply reading them online or on paper, you can see if the account has been used without your consent. Failure to stop the fraud by not being aware of the transaction will cost you.
7. Avoid Online Transactions At Public Place
If you are a heavy online shopper, you should avoid shopping using computers in public places that offer free wireless internet service “wi-fi”. Such services can allow fraudsters to hack into the service system to steal information that is needed to process your transactions (i.e., customer number, mailing address, and credit card number). It is best for you to shop from home where your internet access is more secure from hackers.
8. Remove Yourself From The Mailing and Telephone Calling Lists
Are you receiving usual amount of mail or phone calls try to sell you a product or service? You can reduce them by registering your number with the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). The DNCL gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing call; however the best approach is to avoid providing your number to enter contests or obtain free items from questionable companies and organizations.