Quick Tips to Prevent Fraud
Fraud prevention can take some effort, but it's definitely worth it. Protecting your "worth" is the best way to ensure a healthy future in financial terms. Common sense goes a long way towards keeping your accounts secure, but constant awareness of the risk is not considered paranoid today. It's all too easy to become a victim.
Cultivate Good Habits
Luckily, although it's not foolproof, it's possible to cultivate the habits that minimize identity theft and investment fraud. Here are some steps to take:
- Keep your PIN private. At an ATM or retail counter, be aware of the surroundings and the people around you. Shield the screen or the keyboard as you enter the numbers. Never send your PIN over the internet or give it to someone over the phone. If you suspect that someone knows it or has used it in the past, ask that it be changed.
- Keep your passwords to yourself. And don't use the same password for multiple financial accounts. Maintain a written list of your passwords, but keep the record in a secure place and never share it with anyone.
- Ensure the anti-virus software on your computer is up-to-date and effective.
- Order only from secure (with the "https" designation) online sites, and keep records of all transactions so you can check charged amounts against actual bills. Look for the lock symbol or key in the address bar before you type in your credit card information.
- Keep a tally of your orders so that you know when to expect delivery; and check on orders that don't arrive promptly.
- Always know when automatic payments are scheduled, and check to see that they are for the right amounts.
- Beware of cash transactions as well. Check restaurant bills for proper amounts and for correct addition. If you charge a meal but leave a cash tip, be sure to write in the total in the proper place on the receipt before you sign. Keep your receipts to check against your monthly statement.
- Take advantage of credit card verification services when available.
- Beware of trial offers and limited-time discounts. They can become major surprises as the real price is billed or when a subscription renews automatically.
- Obtain a FREE copy of your credit report (www.AnnualCreditReport.com) from the major credit reporting agencies. Check them for accuracy and immediately report any discrepancies. If you order the authorized reports at different times of the year, you will establish a good picture of your credit history.
Be Wary & Be Safe
It has always been true that discretion is a way to avoid problems. In the digital age, caution about personal affairs is more vital than ever before. Most people know not to share their social security number and personal information publicly but also use a bit of restraint when discussing travel plans, locations, dates, and personal experiences. Being safe is more important than being visible.
Fraud is all too common and often difficult to detect. Awareness is the best antidote, so resolve now to monitor and regularly review all your accounts and transactions consistently. Make it a habit; it's the best way to plan for a secure future.
We’re Here to Help
If you have questions on fraud or feel you’ve been a victim of identity theft, please contact us at 202-479-2270.