The advancement of technology has made many things simpler, even in the banking world, that is true. It’s easier than ever to access banking and financial records, digitally paying a bill, or even write a check. All of that convenience comes with a price. Identity theft and cyber crimes are on the rise, thanks to the ease with which we can now access information.
When facing these potential risks, it is important not to panic. Thankfully there are some available options to help ensure that money stays safe, even in the digital age.
Be Wary of Scammers
Scammers will always be on the lookout for easy access to money. They know who to target and how. That’s why it is essential to learn how to identify scammers before they gain access to your personal information.
Scammers come in many forms. Some may pretend to be a bank, calling with seemingly legitimate reasons, but they merely hope to attain banking information in reality. Phishing emails are another common tactic where scammers hope to access usernames, ids, and passwords.
Safe Password Practices
While on the subject of passwords – it is critical to have a strong password to protect any banking information. In truth, a strong password should be used whenever possible, even if it is something seemingly innocuous, such as a social media account.
If maintaining several complex passwords is overwhelming, know that there are password management services out there. As with any service of this nature, be sure to thoroughly investigate before signing up for one.
Applying Common Sense
If a deal seems like it might be too good to be true, then it probably is. Use common sense whenever possible. That includes making deals through sites like Craigslist. Anytime an online payment is required, consider what you know about the seller/whoever the money is getting sent. Are they likely a scammer? Or is this a legitimate business?
Companies like Zelle recommend that you should never send money to a person you don’t know. If there is no alternative, ensure that all contact information is correct to help prevent the likelihood of fraud.
There are proper ways to dispose of papers or devices that contain personal or banking information. For paper items, buy a shredder, or employ a shredding service. For digital items – computers, hard drives, thumb drives, etc. this can be a bit more complicated. Use a legitimate service for recycling and destroying these devices while following some basic guidelines to negate risks.
Monitor Credit Reports
It’s essential to take the time to check credit reports every year – at a minimum. Keeping up to date with reports can help prevent any surprises down the line, such as a new line of credit that you did not request or approve.
Better yet, sign up for a credit monitoring service. As with any service of a sensitive nature, take the time to research your options before choosing with one to go with. Your bank may even have a few suggestions or preferences on the matter, so don’t be afraid to ask.