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Try These 12 Steps to Protect Your Money From a Scam

In this digitized world, we mostly carry out our daily transactions online; we hardly use physical money. We carry out all our activities online, from shopping to transferring funds from one account to another. However, there is still a threat that our personal information can be hacked, and without any knowledge, we could be a victim of identity theft. Therefore, we must take precautions to reduce this risk of hacking to a bare minimum.

Our team of experts will share some tips regarding privacy and security to protect against threats while shopping and transferring money online.

1. Look for FDIC-insured accounts.

While choosing a bank for online activities offering competitive interest rates on shipping accounts, you should make sure that you also choose an account offering FDIC-insured short-term saving accounts. This account is ideal as it provides government insurance of $250,000 per owner.

2. Check on the app’s security.

You can download several shopping and financial institution-related apps on your phone or tablet. However, you must check the security protocol first, as most banks or financial institutions have highly developed security systems that the customer can access. If an app does not have these safety protocols available, it is best that you avoid downloading the app in question.

3. Avoid suspicious websites.

It’s possible that a website isn’t genuine if it’s badly designed or has several pop-up windows. It is in your best interest to stick with retailers having big-name, on a smaller site, or familiar payment gateways like PayPal. If you intend to buy something, it is advisable to use a credit card instead of a debit card, as most credit cards have a fraud protection feature. A thief has more of a chance of stealing your savings through a debit card than a credit card.

4. Don’t click on hyperlinks in emails.

One of the most popular scams that are still used includes sending recipient emails with a message prompting the receiver to click on the hyperlink. You must avoid clicking on these links as they ask you to fill in your personal details like bank account numbers.

Some of the emails may appear legitimate, but in reality, they are not. Check the domain address. If it is different, then avoid entertaining the email. Suppose you are still unsure about the domain address of the service provider who has sent you the email. In that case, you should contact the service provider mentioned on their homepage and not the homepage provided in the email.

5. Use caution when shopping by phone.

Avoid making online purchases with your phone’s browser when connected to an open network like coffee shops, airports, etc. The chances of other people stealing or accessing the information you’re transmitting are greater. Instead, always wait for a secured network.

6. Keep your Social Security Number private.

Avoid sharing your Social Security Number when you get a request from fraudulent emails or fake websites. Legal businesses seldom ask for it. Shoppers are in no way concerned with it, and while doctors and pediatricians request it with your children’s SSN, you are in no way obliged to share it.

7. Take advantage of credit card perks.

Nowadays, credit cards come with extra fraud protection, which effectively means that consumers will get their money back if they fall victim to fraud. You should take advantage of this feature if you ever fall victim. However, you should be aware of the fact that some credit card companies will reimburse only if the consumer submits claims for it within a stipulated time.

8. Use strong passwords.

While checking out, retail sites often ask for passwords. It is advisable to avoid using the same password across multiple accounts, even your financial accounts, as the risk for password break-ins is greater. Using difficult and long passwords for each account, including those containing your personal details, will surely reduce the chances of password break-ins. Using a reliable and trusted password generator for your accounts makes it difficult for the hacker to hack your account. Also, make sure to secure your phone as most of your details and financial accounts are stored.

9. Request refunds.

You have the right to cancel the order and get a refund if the order arrives late, is damaged, or is defective. If the retailer refuses the refund, you can call your credit card company for help. One of the alternatives is to stop the payment to the retailer.

10. Don’t befriend strangers.

Most scammers prey on people on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Therefore, it is in your best interest to avoid befriending someone you hardly know. Also, avoid posting your personal details as these can be used for identity theft.

Beware that if the account is hacked, it is not necessarily yours; it could even be of your friend. For example, a link to a great deal on a restaurant might be posted on your friend’s timeline, or a wall might take you to a phishing site. Therefore, deals that seem too unrealistic and shortened links with disguised domain names should be avoided at all costs.

11. Avoid fake birthday or holiday cards.

Sending someone an ecard on their birthdays or greeting happy holidays may be a way of spreading love and joy. However, it may be short-lived as clicking on embedded links can take the recipient to scam sites. Before opening up an e-card, make sure that you know the person.

12. Schedule a regular paperwork review.

It is a good habit to frequently review your financial statement online to catch any unauthorized or erroneous entries. If you happen to find one, contact your credit card agency and your bank and report your findings to them, as it could be potentially fraudulent activity, and you may be a victim of identity theft.

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