Financial Literacy

We are all using some form of technology daily, whether it be our smart phones, tablets or desktop computers. Because we are connected, every day we are opening the door to fraudsters and scammers- many of whom are looking to get our hard earned dollars. Just like we make time to check our social media accounts, we must also make time to prevent online fraud.

Closing accounts, reporting scams and stolen money is time consuming and no fun. There are many things you can do today to save yourself from a major fraud disaster.

Here are 30 tips prevent online fraud:

prevent online fraud

On Public Wi-Fi

  1. Stop using unsecured Wi-Fi to log in to social media, engage in credit card transactions, or do online banking.
  2. Watch out for fake Wi-Fi at coffee shops, hotels, or other places that offer free Wi-Fi. Con artists set up networks with similar names to trick unsuspecting customers.
  3. Don’t let your mobile device automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi.

Passwords

  1. No more using the same password. Have separate passwords for every account. Unique account, unique password.
  2. Start making your password a sentence. A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long.
  3. Don’t recycle passwords (for example password2, password3).
  4. If you must write passwords down to remember them, encrypt them in a way that you can remember but others won’t decipher.
  5. Never send your password by email. No reputable company will ask you to do this.

Online Shopping

  1. Always make sure the web address has “https” instead of “http.” Https ensures that you are using an encrypted communications path to transmit your credit card information to the seller.
  2. Go directly to the seller’s site rather than clicking a “coupon” link that was sent to you by an unknown source.
  3. Check the Better Business Bureau site to see if there are any complaints about the seller.
  4. Connect your credit card to PayPal. Thieves can only access the money you’ve credited to your PayPal account, which lessens any potential losses if you’re the victim of fraud.
  5. Keep a separate credit card just for online purchases. That way if your information is compromised, you can easily cancel that card without additional accounts being compromised.
  6. File and keep track of your online payment receipts, check your statements to make sure they match.

On Your Cellphone

  1. Never reply to a text from an unknown number, not even to “stop” future messages.
  2. Install and regularly update anti-malware software on your smartphone. Here’s a list of the best mobile security software of 2017.
  3. Never click on any links, sent via email or text, that come from an unknown number/address.
  4. Set up remote wipe. If you lose your device, you’ll be able to wipe all data remotely using this feature. Most modern devices support this functionality.
  5. Check the privacy setting for any app before you install it on your device. Some apps need permission to access personal information and some don’t so be careful.
  6. Use VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPNs allow you to access the Internet using a private network even though you’re connecting to public WiFi. https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

On Social Media

  1. Make the most of privacy settings and keep your profile private for all your social media accounts. Go to Facebook’s privacy settings page and make sure you are set up correctly.
  2. Stop authorizing a Facebook app to access your account, this gives them a ton of your personal data. Take time to clean up your Facebook apps.
  3. Enable dual-factor authentication, provided by many social media and mainstream applications.
  4. Utilize social media alerts. People using SecureMySocial, for example, receive alerts if inappropriate tweets are issued from their accounts.
  5. Don’t accept “friend” or “connection” type requests from unknown parties.

Using the Cloud

  1. Encrypt your data before uploading it to the cloud.
  2. Avoid storing sensitive information in the cloud, like your password list.
  3. Disable automatic uploads to the cloud to avoid uploading files that you’re not supposed to share.
  4. Review who has access to documents stored in your cloud account. Revoke access when it’s no longer needed and limit access to “read only” where possible.
  5. Keep security features up to date and install the latest version possible.

A little effort can go a long way to prevent online fraud. For more information on protecting yourself visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

*Please note that none of the links contained in this article are affiliate links.

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