Scammers are out there, trolling the Internet for your financial information. This isn’t meant to scaremonger; it’s the cold, hard reality of surfing the web today. In 2019, 3.2 million people reported fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.
Luckily, you don’t have to swear off the net to protect your finances. To keep your information out of the hands of fraudsters, take a look at these tips below. They’ll help you reduce your risk of identity theft.
Share Information with Trusted Vendors Only
Your first step in protecting your data is sharing it under specific circumstances. Only ever give a financial institution access to your information if:
- They have a detailed security policy
- There is a reasonable need to know this information
Finding and reading a security policy is simple, but if you’re having trouble deciding if a vendor needs your info, consider the context of your visit.
Think of it this way, if you visit MoneyKey to learn about payday loans, you won’t have to share your information. But if you choose to apply for an installment loan, they’ll want to check your credit. Sharing this report makes sense within these circumstances. Many lenders base their funding decisions on your credit history, so you should be prepared to share financial data and your Social Security Number (SSN) the next time you want an installment loan.
These standards change if an online retailer asks to see the same sort of financial details on their website. While they may need your credit card number to complete a sale, there’s never any reason to share your SSN at the checkout.
Learn How to Spot Red Flags
Learning the warning signs of a scam may help you improve your ability to know the difference between appropriate requests and not-so appropriate requests. Look beyond what kind of information they want. While this is important, the way they ask for it is also significant.
Legitimate companies will never use abusive language or threaten you. Legit companies have a dedicated customer service department that will treat you with respect.They also won’t ask you to share your info via unusual means.
Let’s look at the example of borrowing money again. Applications should be hosted on a website protected by firewalls and security licenses. If you’re asked to apply over email, consider this a red flag. The same goes for installment loan direct lenders that ask you to pay using anything but direct deposit or checks.
Monitor Your Accounts
You need to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, and that’s a tall order if you never check-in with your account statements.
It’s a good idea to check your bank account at least once a month, along with any personal line of credit loans, credit cards, or personal loans you may have.
Use an Anti-Virus
You can try your best to sniff out scams and predatory websites, but sometimes, you’re asleep at the wheel. Something might escape your attention, and you accidentally share information or click a link you shouldn’t.
An anti-virus acts as a safety net in these situations. It backs up your browsing with virus scans, firewalls, and malware protection. They employ these securities any time a site requests data or your download a file.
Bottom Line: Security is a Must
Nowadays, we live in a world where a breach is the rule, not the exception. To keep your personal information safe, you have to be serious about security. Safeguard your data properly and you’ll reduce the chances of becoming the next victim of fraud.