Financial fraud has steadily increased over the years and could significantly impact your finances if you become a victim. Protecting yourself from financial fraud is important because it can seriously affect your financial well-being. Unauthorized access to your finances could expose you to identity theft, debts, and so on. Likewise, getting caught up in financial fraud can damage your credit score, making it difficult for you to get loans or credit cards in the future. In 2021 alone, the FTC reported a 19% increase in fraud cases, making it essential to take extra care regarding your finances. Below are a few ways to protect yourself from financial fraud.
- Be careful with your online transactions
It is almost impossible to go through a day without entering data or finances online today. For this reason, updating your computers’ and smart devices’ security software is crucial. You also want to avoid entering sensitive personal data into public computers that may record your passwords and other valuable data. Before entering or exchanging your data with any site, ensure the URL has HTTPS at the beginning. This step is particularly important when making purchases online or in banking.
- Verify all financial communications
Be cautious of common financial scams like phishing, where scammers pose as your bank or financial institution via email, and request that you confirm or update your account credentials. Ensure you reach out directly to your bank before taking any action. The last thing you want is your account details ending in the wrong hands. Likewise, remember that most financial institutions will reach out directly to you instead of using text, email, or social media to verify such financial or personal information.
- Regularly check your banking and credit accounts
The earlier you can detect fraud, the faster you can avert or mitigate any potential damages. One of the best ways to detect financial fraud is to regularly check your bank and credit accounts. For instance, if you regularly use online banking, it is easy to quickly identify suspicious activities on your account. Fortunately, most banks and financial institutions have mobile apps to regularly check your accounts. You can also set alerts to receive notifications for any suspicious transactions. This way, you can quickly reach out to your bank or creditor when something doesn’t add up.
- Shred your sensitive documents
Many people keep banking records like deposit slips, checks, and ATMs for monthly reconciliation purposes. However, it is vital to shred them after use. For your monthly saving and saving account statement you need for filing your taxes, you must keep them secure. You can also sign up for eStatements to get your statements readily accessible without necessarily storing physical copies. Many banking firms allow you to keep your online statements for at least two years.
- Seek professional help
If you were a law-abiding individual whose business activities are, to the best of your knowledge, legal, you might be astonished to be charged with business fraud. However, it is important to understand that anything that may seem small or insignificant as incorrect filing, might get you in hot waters. Talking to a professional can be the difference between a good resolution in which your reputation is cleared and incurring heavy penalties for offenses you did not commit intentionally. Likewise, you may consult a Simmrin Law white collar crime lawyer if you’ve been charged with a financially motivated crime.