Fraud is scary. It can be overwhelming to think of how many criminals are after your personal data. But there are some simple things you can do to help protect yourself against fraud.
Use these easy tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
Log In to Online Banking Every Day
Yes, every single day. Logging in to online banking and monitoring your accounts is one of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your finances and spot potential fraud.
If you see something suspicious, report it to your financial institution right away.
Tip for Suncoast Members
You can quickly and easily dispute a transaction using SunNet Online Banking or the SunMobile app.
Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi
When you’re stuck in a waiting room or another boring place, your phone is probably your go-to source for entertainment. But make sure that you are very careful any time you use public Wi-Fi.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi for anything that contains your personal information, like online banking or online shopping. Other people may be able to see what you are doing and steal your personal data. Wait until you’re somewhere with secure Wi-Fi to do sensitive activities.
Stop and Think Before You Click a Link
If you get an email or a text message that contains a link, stop and think before you click on it. Phishing is a type of fraud that is designed to trick you into clicking a dangerous link.
If you click on a malicious link in a phishing email or text message, it can compromise your personal information and give criminals access to things like your passwords and credit card numbers. Always hover over a link and make sure you know what it is and that it’s trustworthy. When in doubt, don’t click!
Create Strong Passwords (And Don’t Repeat Them)
It can be annoying to create and remember so many passwords. But it is much more annoying to deal with all the problems that come from having your identity stolen.
Use best practices when creating a password, like using a mix of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and special characters. And even if you have too many passwords already, NEVER repeat them.
Protect Your Personal Information
Another easy way to protect your personal information is by using electronic communication instead of paper when it comes to personal things like banking. Secure electronic communication can relieve the dangers of someone stealing your physical mail.
When you do get paper items, it is best to shred them when you are done with them to protect them from being stolen from your trash.
Tip for Suncoast Members
Suncoast offers free shred days for members! Check out our community events page to find where we’ll be next.
Look for Skimmers (And Report Them)
There are plenty of ATM safety tips to keep in mind, but looking out for skimmers is an essential one. Skimmers are devices that criminals place on ATMs, gas station pumps and other places you use your credit or debit cards. They steal your card information so the criminal can steal your money.
Visually inspect an ATM or other card reading device before you use it. Potential indicators of a skimmer include sticky residue, loose parts, damaged parts or noticeable resistance when pressing the ATM keypad.
If you notice anything strange, don’t use the ATM and notify your financial institution.
Don’t Fall for Fakes
Scammers are manipulators. They make fake phone calls, send fake emails and fake texts. They may pretend to be a legitimate business or financial institution.
Do not give out your personal information unless you are completely sure that it is a legitimate institution and that they need the information.
Stay Cautious on Social Media
Another place that is full of fake accounts is on social media. Scammers use social media as a tool to try to gain people’s trust and then scam them out of money or personal information.
One common social media scam is card cracking or card popping. The scammer sends a message on social media offering a way to make quick, easy money. They get you to give your debit card and PIN or your online bank account information and then deposit fraudulent checks in your account.
They promise to give you a portion of the profits, but they actually steal your money. Plus since you give the information willingly, you are liable for the money and can even face criminal charges.
Set Travel Notifications
If you’re going out of town, set a travel notification to let your financial institution know where you’ll be. Otherwise they may think your card has been stolen and your cards could get temporarily frozen.
Staying informed about the latest scams is an easy way to know what to look out for. Follow us on social media and check the “Safety & Protection” category of our blog to stay informed about how to stay safe!