5 Steps to Help Safeguard Yourself Against Fraud
The Growing Concern of Fraud
Fraud continues to be a growing concern for Americans, with no signs of slowing down. In a world where everyone is at risk, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to safeguard yourself against fraud. While there’s no foolproof way to eliminate this threat entirely, being informed and vigilant can significantly lower your risk.
According to the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) Annual Data Breach Report, a staggering 422 million individuals had their data compromised in the U.S. in 2022. Furthermore, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that Ohio experienced nearly 14,000 cybercrime attacks in the same year, making the Buckeye State seventh in the nation for personal fraud.
As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by fraudsters. Recent reports from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have uncovered thousands of fraudulent domains linked to multiple texting scams. These scams, collectively known as “smishing,” involve fraudulent text messages that impersonate a consumer’s financial institution. These messages aim to trick recipients into revealing their account numbers or other personally identifiable information.
5 Tips to Safeguard Yourself Against Fraud
It’s essential to stay informed and take proactive steps to safeguard yourself against fraud. Here are 5 tips to help you safeguard your personal information in 2023:
1. Verify Text Messages
Be cautious when receiving unsolicited text messages, especially those requesting sensitive information. Contact your financial institution directly using official contact information to verify the message’s authenticity.
2. Stay Informed
Stay updated on the latest fraud trends and scams through reliable sources such as government agencies, consumer protection websites, and news outlets.
3. Protect Your Personal Information
Safeguard your personal and financial information by using strong, unique passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.
4. Educate Yourself
Familiarize yourself with common fraud tactics like phishing, smishing, and vishing (voice phishing). Learn to recognize the signs of a potential scam.
5. Report Suspicious Activity
If you encounter a suspected fraud attempt or become a victim, report it to the relevant authorities immediately. Prompt reporting can help prevent further harm and aid in the investigation.
By remaining vigilant, staying well-informed, and implementing proactive security measures, you can effectively lower your chances of becoming a victim of fraud in 2023.