It seems no matter how much we advance in terms of science and technology, there will always be a backdoor to financial scams and banking frauds. Things like identity theft, money laundering, cybercrimes and loan misappropriation along other financial misdeeds will never go away, no matter how many years go by.
And unfortunately, the inception of the internet and globalization has propelled the rate at which these crimes occur. Most of the time recession, as well as the collapse of the financial system, have been the direct cause of these schemes. With a continuous online presence, the common man is vulnerable to these scams, on a daily basis at that. And if you taught Russian businesswoman Marsha Lazareva who embezzled over $496m was a big deal, cybercriminals can swindle billions of dollars from thousands of unsuspecting people all over the world.
Given how often these crimes take place, you should wisen up and use the following tips to reduce or avoid exposure to them as much as possible:
- Don’t respond to calls that ask for personal and financial information.
- Don’t ever share personal or financial information through email
- Don’t click on any random hyperlink or download software from an ad that randomly pops out from nowhere as it may be suspicious.
- Keep away from emails or ads that day that you’re a lottery winner, especially when you’ve never even participated in one. Besides, you need to pay taxes and other charges to avail a lottery benefit.
- Never share your internet banking password, ATM and debit/credit card PIN or any other banking details with anyone else.
- Install antivirus software to protect your computer from any malicious content and viruses. And make sure to frequently update that antivirus program on a regular basis.
- Never ever transfer funds or share your debit/credit card information with an acquaintance or someone who claims to be a long-lost relative.
- Don’t keep passwords that are easy to remember. Many people around the world keep passwords that are related to their personal life. Instead, you should use passwords that contain a mixture of lowercase, uppercase, and special characters and isn’t something that’s related to your personal life or events that can be guessed with ease.
- Use caller ID to determine incoming calls. If the number shows up as unknown or private, just ignore it or block the call.
- Don’t make payments for any sweepstakes as they don’t ask for any upfront payments.
- Don’t sign black checks and always put a double line on the check’s upper left corner. This ensures that no bearer can withdraw any cash.
- Visit only secure websites that have a lock symbol before the URL bar on the browser. The symbol implies that the site is encrypted and that it’s protected against hackers.
- Whenever you decide to use a debit or a credit card, just know that it can be cloned by hackers who would then use it to gain access to your account and use it to their financial advantage. Also, never lose sight of your card when making a payment. Keep your billing statements with you at all times and sign the card in ink the moment you receive it.
- When you get a call for personal details from a person who claims to be an employee of the bank, give your bankers a call right away. This is because no bank ever asks for personal details over email or the phone.
- Never share your one-time password (OTP) to an unknown caller or person. Make sure that the OTP has been especially generated to be used by you only.
- To keep away from check frauds, refrain from signing the blank cheque before completing all of the details, especially the amount. Keep your cheque book in a safe place. It would be better to use internet banking to be on the safe side.