Safeguarding your credit and financial information requires constant vigilance, especially with new threats coming out on a regular basis. The most recent figures estimate that the U.S. credit card industry sees $8.6 billion in annual fraud. Most tor hydra of those losses fall on card issuers; however, the damage to a consumer’s credit rating can be substantial due to fraud.
Consumers should become familiar with the threats to their money and personal information and put protections into practice against crooks looking to take what’s yours. Here are the most insidious ways crooks try to take what doesn’t belong to them.
Don’t Get Hooked by a Phishing Scheme
Phishing emails are bogus communications that appear to be from legitimate companies. These crooks work hard to duplicate the website of one of your business contacts and trick you into clicking on a link. The message is usually a warning of an urgent problem or one that asks you to update or confirm your account information and status. If you respond, you will unknowingly be sent to the phony site and asked to provide personal information that can be used to steal your money and identity.
No reputable company requests their clients’ personal information by email. Often the phishing scheme includes obvious signs that point to the fraud.
·Generic or impersonal language, misspellings and improper punctuation or grammar are tip-offs of questionable authenticity; valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company generally are personalized, but always call to check if you are unsure.
·A distorted logo or misspelled domain name is another indicator that points to a fraudulent website.
·Pass your curser over any links included in the email to see if the URL is legitimate; look for minor additions or misspellings to the URL.
·Legitimate companies will never include an attachment. Never download one included in an email, you may be launching a virus or spyware on your computer.
·Lotteries or sweepstakes that charge a fee to collect your winnings is a definite warning sign.
Beware of Vishing Scams
A newer, less known scheme to get you to reveal your personal information is called ‘vishing’. Contact is made via email, but unlike a phishing email, the message doesn’t include a link but a request for you to call a phone number.
General Security Tips to Protect Your Personal Identification
· Never provide personal or financial information in any form on a website that you’ve accessed through email.
· Never click on a link in an email message that is questionable. Be cautious, as well, with attachments.
· Never send money in any form to anyone claiming you won a sweepstakes or inherited money.
· Review all credit, bank and other financial statements and correspondence, as soon as they come, for unauthorized charges or activity. Regularly log into your online accounts, as well.