Get smart and stay safe: Best practices to protect you from digital financial fraud

October 7, 2020  |  Karoline Gore

This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

The past two years have seen a 391% rise in fraudulent attempts that target digital transactions around the world. The research carried out by TransUnion also saw a specific increase of 347% in relation to account takeover so the average consumer needs to up their understanding of financial fraud risks. When data breaches and cyberattacks occur, it impacts society in various ways like lowering consumer trust and damaging foreign politics. Ultimately, the most damaging consequence of cyberattacks to hit North Americans is digital financial fraud. So how can you best protect yourself from digital financial fraud? 

Learn the different types of digital fraud

There are several types of digital and e-commerce fraud that is perpetuated across the world. One of the more common types of digital fraud is identity theft. Around 71% of merchants and businesses are concerned about their clients being targeted for identity theft, according to Worldpay. The same study found that 66% worry about phishing and 63% worry about account theft. Each of these fraudulent schemes has specific targets like your information or the sites you use. Learning more about these different types of digital fraud improves your ability to spot traps as you navigate through your digital transactions.  

Regularly check your credit score

A startling 56% of Canadians have never checked their credit score, according to Simple Rate. The same study also found that only 14% check their scores annually. Your credit score is calculated by going through your payment history, credit usage, credit history length, and several other factors. If you are unaware of what your credit score is, you may not realize that you have already been a victim of digital financial fraud. This can cause serious damage to your credit score and financial progress. As such, it is a smart practice to regularly check and monitor your credit score. Doing so gives you the chance to spot any sketchy transactions right away so that you can contest them swiftly.

Build a strong relationship with your bank

In an increasingly digital world, it is not odd for your bank to know your email, phone number, and other sensitive information. Scammers and fraudsters now try to spoof the number of banks and try to get consumers to share their PIN to access their accounts. To avoid this type of financial fraud, it’s important to build a strong relationship with your bank. Get to know what their practices are and have their official numbers saved to your phone. So, if you get a suspicious call, you can simply tell them you’ll call back and get in contact with your actual bank. It’s also a smart practice to only use your bank’s official apps and websites and keep abreast of any notices they send out of any scam attempts so you can protect yourself accordingly.

Practice Smart and Safe Internet Usage

Over 41% of internet users aged 18-35 say they have posted personal information online, according to Webroot. This wealth of information is precisely what criminal elements use to carry out their digital financial frauds. To avoid this from occurring, you need to practice smart and safe internet usage. Installing a strong anti-virus program in your devices can keep your system and information safe from phishing attempts and keyloggers. Locking down your online profiles and ensuring they stay private is an effective way to make you an unlikely target. It also helps to only use secure websites when you do online purchases. These smart practices stack up and ensure that you and your finances are kept safe.

The ways that digital financial fraud is conducted is an ever-evolving process as criminal elements are constantly figuring out better and better ways to scam you. To protect yourself, you must evolve your understanding and practices as well. That way, you can be assured that your finances are secure and you needn’t be subjected to the stress and devastation of falling prey to fraud.

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