3 Habits That Can Help You Avoid Fraud

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Credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels 

You never want to wake up one day and realize that you’ve become a victim of fraud. You don’t want to swipe your bank card or open up your online bank account and realize that your hard-earned money is completely gone. Is there anything that you can do to protect yourself from this nightmare scenario? 

1. Double-Check Your Lending Websites

Whenever you intend to borrow money from an online resource, do some research to make sure that it’s safe to borrow from. You should do your due diligence, looking over reviews from previous applicants and reading through the FAQ page to make sure that it appears to be a legitimate and reliable resource. If you’re facing an emergency expense and need borrowed funds to cover it, the last thing that you’ll want is to get scammed. Then you’ll have two emergencies to face.

When you’re double-checking a loan provider’s website, you should look at the website’s URL. You’ll want it to be secured (both with “https” and a padlock symbol at the very beginning). A secured website will encrypt any private information sent between your browser and the website, keeping it away from any prying hackers and scammers’ eyes. This is incredibly important since you will need to share some sensitive information when applying for an emergency loan. 

What else can you do? There are other ways that you can make sure your loans are legit before filling out an application. Learn them as soon as possible. 

2. Only Use ATMS in Your Network

One of the ways that scammers can access your debit and credit card information is via a skimmer. A card skimmer is a device installed inside of an ATM or point-of-sale device to copy information on the card. In addition, some scammers will set up cameras or keypad overlays to collect the PIN you use to access your card’s account. So, they could get all of the information that they need to break into your account and commit fraud. 

Skimmers are more likely to be installed in privately owned ATMs in corner stores, grocery stores, bars and casinos. Bank-owned ATMs will be more heavily monitored, so it’s much harder for scammers to install the skimmers without getting caught. So, make a habit of using ATMs that are connected to your bank’s network. If you’re not sure where to find those ATMs, your mobile banking app may have an ATM locator to help you find all of the available options nearby. 

3. Use Different Passwords

Your passwords are your major lines of defense for your various online accounts. If you use weak passwords, like ‘password’ or ‘12345’, you are making it very easy for hackers to break into your accounts and access your sensitive information. It’s important that you use strong passwords for your online accounts, especially for your mobile banking app and your credit card app. 

Having a single strong password isn’t enough. You should also make sure that it’s a different password for every account. Why? If you repeatedly use one strong password for your online accounts, you open yourself up to a major cybersecurity threat if a hacker/scammer discovers it. Then, they will be able to access more than one account. A password breach from your favourite retail website could lead to financial fraud. If that same password is used for your bank account, your account could get hacked and your funds could get completely drained. 

Try your best to use strong, unique passwords for every single account that you open. If you’re thinking that this will give you too many passwords to keep track of, you can get a password manager. It’s better than using easy-to-guess passwords for multiple accounts. 

Protecting yourself from fraud doesn’t have to be a terrible challenge. These three habits will be so easy to take on. So, start them now!  

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