Financial fraud is always a concern. Cyber criminals continue to create increasingly sophisticated ways to steal from their innocent victims. In this article we aim to explain a few common methods of fraud and offer ways you can protect yourself.
Phishing is the criminal attempt to steal your personal information through fraudulent texts, emails, snail mail, phone calls, etc. The criminals often pose as believable organizations, financial institutions, and even employers. They ask victims to provide or verify important pieces of personal information such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, or credit card numbers.
- How to Protect Yourself – Your organizations do not need you to verify this information because they already have it! Be very wary of institutions that contact you. Before giving any information, ask to contact the institution in question directly to confirm. If this is a real issue, they will have no problem with your hesitation and appreciate your caution.
Smart phone texting fraud, also known as smishing, is a relatively new form of fraud made possible by the popularity of smart phones and their access to the Internet. Criminals will send a SMS message to a victim asking for an urgent response. Since people are used to quickly responding to texts, a victim typically does not realize they have been duped until it is too late. Also, websites typically look different on mobile devices which makes validating difficult.
- How to Protect Yourself – Be vary wary of responding to urgent texts from unknown numbers or texts claiming to be a financial institution. Use the same precautions you would take against phishing and directly contact the institution in question.