10 Resolutions for a Fraud-Free 2024

Happy New Year! From Fraud.org, here are 10 New Year’s resolutions to reduce your risk of fraud in 2024. 

  1. Use multi-factor authentication. Using multi-factor/two-factor authentication is an easy way to protect your accounts even if your password shows up in a leak. By requiring permission for the login from an additional method of contact, usually text message or email, multi-factor authentication reduces an intruder’s chances of success. 
  2. Lock your SIM card with a PIN. Fraudsters can gain control of your phone number with an attack called SIM swapping. Once that happens, they have effectively voided any multi-factor authentication that relied on your phone number. To prevent a SIM swap, most major carriers allow customers to require the input of a PIN before their SIM can be used on another device. 
  3. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true. Scammers can deceive anyone, including your friends. Treat all investment opportunities, job offers, and other lucrative openings with caution, even if someone you know shared it on social media. 
  4. Verify identities. Criminals can take over online accounts or create copycats of real people you know. AI can mimic the voice of a loved one and create more convincing phishing attempts. With endless opportunities for deception, take a few minutes to verify that the person is who they say they are. One of the best ways to do this is to contact them through another medium besides the one they used to approach you. 
  5. Don’t pay with gift cards or cryptocurrency. Legitimate businesses and government offices will never ask you to pay an outstanding balance with a gift card or crypto. Anyone demanding these kinds of payments is a fraud.  
  6. Ask for details in writing. Genuine offers of employment, transactions, and donations should be able to provide comprehensive details in writing. These should include what is expected from you (namely monetary costs, the length of the commitment, or time requirements) and what they will provide, including warranty, refund, and return windows. If someone is unable to specify more information, treat it as a red flag.  
  7. Take your time. You should never feel coerced or pressured into making big purchases or commitments. Legitimate counterparties should be able to provide details in writing and give you space to make a decision. 
  8. Keep sensitive information encrypted. When inputting and sending personal information online, double check that the website is secure (secure connections begin with HTTPS and most browsers will display a lock symbol near the URL). Don’t keep confidential digital files, including where you store passwords, as plain text. Encrypted cloud storage and hard drives require a password to view the stored information and many will offer multi-factor authentication, making it much harder for hackers to break in. 
  9. Report instances of fraud. Phishing attempts and spam ar fraud, too. Reporting these incidents to law enforcement and third-parties that may have been involved in the transaction (like an online marketplace) increases your odds of recovering your losses. Law enforcement, policymakers, and the platforms these activities occur on are also better able to act on these issues with a fuller set of data to inform them. 
  10. Treat victims with compassion. Victims are often blamed, feel unsupported, and are given few options for recovery. This benefits only the scammers and makes us all less safe. Nobody is immune to fraud and it should be treated as seriously as any other crime.