Criminals are getting smarter and their scams are more creative! Due to Covid, so much more of our daily lives are on the web, including emailing, social networking, online banking, and even home purchases. Criminals have been taking advantage of this and cybercrimes targeting unsuspecting victims have increased. Here are a few tips to help keep your finances safe.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is an electronic method in which the user is allowed access to an account or application only after successfully completing two methods of identification to verify their authenticity. For example when logging into a financially sensitive site, you may have to enter the password, plus a 6-digit code texted to your cell phone on file. You can typically enable this security feature free on your email account, banking, credit card, and investment websites. 2FA ensures that even if a criminal were to obtain your password, without this second layer of authentication, they cannot access your sensitive financial information.
Think Before you Click
Avoid clicking on anything in an unsolicited email, text, or pop up when you are online. You may unknowingly be allowing malware disguised as legitimate software to be downloaded to your device, which could steal valuable information and compromise your financial security. Never open or download attachments from someone you don’t know, or even from people you do know, but aren’t expecting a document from. For example, a bad actor may portray themselves as friends emailing you an urgent message to view information in a downloadable file. Before proceeding, make sure the context makes sense. Is the “from” email correct? Is the time of sending reasonable? Urgent requests for action may be a ploy to pressure you to act now, and question later.
Verify Requests and Offers
If it seems too good to be true, it may be! If a credit card emails you an offer for free services, consider calling the number on the back of your credit card rather than replying back directly. Unfortunately, bad actors try to portray themselves as legitimate institutions to collect your personal information. As a financial provider, we have found that one of the best ways to verify the legitimacy of a financial transaction is to call and speak with the client to verify intent.
With a few tips, may we all continue to be safe and financially savvy in the New Year! Cheers to a successful 2023!