How to protect yourself from financial crime
With the continuous development of technology, we are becoming more and more reliant on digital methods of making payments. This means it’s increasingly important to be aware of the risks that come with it.
There are many ways criminals can target victims and get access to their money, including identity theft, fraud, cybercrime and money laundering.
So, how can you avoid falling victim to these crimes? Chartered Financial Planner, Suzy Shepherd, has shared her advice on becoming more resilient, making sure your money stays where it belongs.
Awareness is an important first step in protecting yourself from an attack, but what should you be looking for? Whether it’s a high-profile security breach or one that’s happened to friends or family, you should be asking what tactics the fraudsters use to make it easier to spot in the future.
Secure your personal data
When it comes to safeguarding your information, you can never be too careful. Ensure your accounts are protected with strong passwords, and any paper documents are ripped up before they’re thrown away.
Set up two-factor authentication
Many platforms now offer multi-factor authentication options. One option is where you can get a code sent to your phone or email to enable a second layer of security beyond your password. If this is an option, I would highly recommend utilising this.
Verify contacts and requests
A common tactic used is to send a message pretending to be someone else, asking you to click on a link, some may look legitimate so it’s important to verify any communications asking for personal data.
You can do this by contacting the business direct using the contact details on their website and confirming with them if they have asked for this data.
Keep an eye on your accounts
Regularly keeping an eye on your credit reports, bank statements and transaction history makes it easier to spot any suspicious activity sooner rather than later, meaning you can report it before any real damage is done.
Many finance services will send you alerts if they feel any activity doesn’t seem right – so it’s important to pay attention to these.
Only use secure devices and networks
Making a financial transaction through a laptop or phone that isn’t connected to a secure network increases vulnerability to scams, so always make sure you are connected to a trusted network.
Devices should have updated security software and malware blockers, if you’re not 100% sure if they have this or don’t think the network is secure, you shouldn’t make a payment on that device.
Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments
Fraudsters will often go as far as setting up a fake website to link through to from phishing emails, so you should be cautious when clicking links or downloading attachments from an email if you’re unsure where it’s come from.
Similarly, check any website is authentic before you enter any personal data.
Be wary of lofty promises
Fake investment propositions are also a common scam, offering little risk and high returns.
As they say, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is! Always be cautious before signing up to anything and do your research to find out if it is legitimate. If you’re still unsure, we’d recommend getting in touch with a regulated financial advisor to make sure you are not being scammed.
Report anything suspicious
If you see it, say it. Reporting scams puts authorities in a stronger position to prevent others being targeted and help solve other cases of fraud.
If you’re worried about financial crime and want to make your money more secure, get in touch with our team of financial planners, who would be happy to help.