5 Ways to Prevent Fraud and Identity Theft

As a business owner, we hope that you’ve implemented tactics and technology to keep your digital assets secure against attacks (if not, Fidelity is here to help!). But, don’t forget to stay vigilant against threats to your personal accounts, too. Here are 5 ways you can bolster security for your bank account:

1. Look Out for Suspicious Emails, Phone Calls, or Texts

From robocalls to phishing emails, fraudsters are relentless in their efforts to obtain personal information from unknowing bystanders and targeted victims. They often do so by posing as a different individual or entity, such as a charity campaign, the IRS, or your employer.

It’s important to always be on guard against such scams. If you receive a robocall, be sure to hang up right away. If you receive a call unexpectedly from someone who is requesting personal information or money, do not provide them with anything without doing research on the request first. Be careful not to click on any links in text messages or emails which are not expected or are from people and/or email addresses that you don’t recognize. And, before clicking on a link in an email, it’s a good idea to hover over it to see if the URL looks accurate and legitimate.

2. Say Goodbye to ABC123

Coming up with strong passwords can be a hassle, but it’s a necessary step to stay properly protected from fraud. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords, and do not use the same password for another account.

Worried about forgetting your passwords? Consider using a tool like LastPass, which will not only store your passwords for you but will also give you the option to generate strong passwords.

3. Monitor Your Bank Accounts and Credit Score

Make sure to check your bank account statements every month, and sign up for text or email alerts with your bank to get notified in the event of suspicious activity. By responding faster to fraud, you’ll have a better shot at reversing or minimizing damage.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year to look out for unauthorized credit checks or purchases.

4. Don’t Visit Your Bank’s App or Website While Using Public WiFi

Many mobile apps don’t encrypt information properly, which means that your data is vulnerable to hackers when it is transmitted across a public network. When doing online banking on your phone or mobile device, use either a secure wireless network or your phone’s data.

5. Avoid Card Skimmers

Fraudsters put card skimmers in ATM’s and gas pumps so that they can obtain card information and make counterfeit cards. Fortunately, EMV chip cards cannot be skimmed (unless the chip card is swiped), but many gas pumps and ATM’s have not yet upgraded to support EMV. While it’s usually not possible to spot a card skimmer in a machine, you can stay safe by only using ATM’s/gas pumps that are in well-lit and highly visible areas, or by using ATM’s that are on-site at your bank as they are monitored by cameras.

Fraud and identity theft can take on many forms, which means that staying safe requires constant awareness on all fronts. Keep in mind that wherever you are sharing or accessing your personal information, there’s a chance that fraud can take place. As these are just a few of many steps you can take, we encourage you to read up on best practices and stay up-to-date with evolving threats and technology.