Fraudsters are constantly developing new ploys to get at your personal information. There are many methods scammers use, many of which look and feel real. With education and proactive measures, you can avoid these traps.
- Be wary of emails, text messages or phone calls out of the blue for personal information.
- Emails or text asking you to ‘validate’, ‘confirm’ or ‘verify’ your personal details by clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Poorly written messages or grammatical errors are a red flag.
- There are unexpected pop-ups on your computer or mobile device asking if you want to allow software to run.
- You receive a friend request from someone you don’t know on social media.
- Your mailbox has been broken into.
- Do not open suspicious texts or emails – delete them.
- Verify the identity of the contact by calling the organization directly. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you. Find them through an independent source; a phone book or an online search.
- Never send money or give credit card information, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Do not provide strangers with remote access to your computer.
- Make your passwords challenging. Do not use the same password repeatedly and do not share them with anyone.
- Be careful how much information you share on social media websites. This enables scammers to target you or your friends.
- Monitor bank accounts and credit cards for unauthorized transactions.
- Check your credit report every year or so.
Consider proactively placing a credit freeze or security alerts on your credit bureaus.
Being vigilant with your personal information can save time, money and stress. Financial security is serious and can be managed proactively just like investments.