It’s no secret that in today’s world, fraud prevention, online privacy and cybersecurity are on-going concerns for individuals as well as organisations.
Fraud has an impact on us all.
Although it feels like something one can’t control, you do have the ability to protect yourself and ensure that you remain vigilant in an ever-evolving underworld of crime.
To do this, it’s important to raise your awareness of scams and identity theft.
So, how do you stay in control and protect your personal information to prevent fraud?
- Voice mails and call-backs If you get a voice mail from your credit card company that asks you to call back, only call back using the number listed on the back of your card. Never respond directly to the contact number offered in the message.
- “Identification purposes only” Websites with questionable content will sometimes ask for a credit or debit card number “for identification purposes only.” Don’t get sucked in! Unless you are actually making a purchase, there is no need to share your card information.
- Phish-aware Don’t be burned by a phish. Be suspicious of any emails from a bank or credit card company requesting your account information. Contact the company directly (and not through the unsolicited email) to confirm the request, or if you are suspicious of a link, rather type the address in your browser and look for the secure lock icon.
- Perform periodic privacy checks On a regular basis, check your Internet browser and social media site privacy settings to be sure they match your needs. After visiting secure websites, clear the cache of your browser so that no one can view any sensitive information.
- Unsolicited unsubscribes Do not click on ‘unsubscribe’ links in any unsolicited email, or reply with an unsubscribe message. Doing either will simply confirm that the spammer/scammer is reaching a live address and they will continue to keep you on their contact lists. Instead, simply delete the email.
- Secure online shopping There are two simple indicators that you’re secure while shopping online. One is the “padlock” icon located at the top of your browser window, and the other is “https” in the address bar. These confirm that the page you are on is secure and that your data will be encrypted.
- Become a password power user Avoid obvious passwords like birthdays, addresses or phone numbers – these aren’t just easy to guess, they’re easy to get with simple searches. Most sites recommend (or even require) a minimum of eight characters and a mix of numb3r5 and 13tt3r5.
- Reusing passwords Don’t use repeat passwords for anything involving sensitive personal information. Fraudsters will run compromised email accounts against financial institutions in case there is a repeat that will grant them access.
- Change passwords frequently Many sites require periodic password changes and don’t permit password recycling. Just as you change your smoke alarm batteries every New Year, make it a habit to change your passwords every full moon.
What to do if you think you have fallen prey to fraudulent activity:
- Document it - write down the day, time and location
- Report it - immediately to the police and the relevant financial institutes. If you suspect fraud on your Credit Card or the theft of your personal information, like your online login details, remember to change these details immediately.
- Stop it – Stop your card that is been breached immediately in order to prevent any further fraudulent transactions.
The institutions and companies that you do business with have an obligation to take your protection seriously, implement the highest security standards possible and immediately detect and alert you to any fraudulent activity on your account.