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How to protect yourself from online fraud

POSTED ON February 05, 2020

While the internet has brought a lot of convenience to our lives, new kinds of risk have come with it. This is especially true now that finance and technology are getting more and more entwined.

From fake websites to phishing, criminals have come up with creative ways to fool people. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from online fraud.

Get protected

One of the first things to do with an Internet-connected device is make sure it is secure.  Many devices already come with built-in security features like passcodes and biometrics, so make sure to use them.  

You’ll also need a good antivirus app. A free one will do but you can also look at premium versions which contain more features. These include virtual private networks that protect you while connected to public Internet and the ability to generate and store complex passwords for your different accounts.

Practice good data hygiene

Even the most high-tech security programs can’t protect you if your data is easy for anyone to find. Fortunately, good data hygiene comes easy if you understand a basic principle: If it’s private, keep it private. Never share things like passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs) and card numbers, and don’t leave sensitive information lying around like on papers or unsecured files where people can find them. 

Sharpen your judgment

When trying to steal your information, fraudsters have many tricks to try (and they’re going past posing as Nigerian princes). They can send emails pretending to be banks or companies, telling you to send sensitive information to secure your account or claim your prize. Always check the sender and if something seems fishy, check with the company’s official hotline or email address.

Fraudsters can also put up fake websites that look almost like the real thing. Before you do anything on a website, check for signs that it’s the right one. Check that the URL begins with “https” and is spelled properly with the right format, and look for a padlock icon on the address bar.

These are just some of the many ways you can keep yourself from becoming a victim. After all, online fraud is an avoidable risk that gives you no reward.