We all know the traditional New Year’s resolutions: saving money, going to the gym, or eating more greens. At Fraud.org, we wanted to offer some novel resolutions to ring in the new year.
Here are ten ways you can help combat fraud in 2023:
1 – Resolve to use multi-factor authentication. Using multi-factor authentication (which includes two-factor authentication) requires your permission through a separate mode of communication, usually text or email, before someone can log in to your account. This feature is widely available for most online accounts and easy to set up. Most importantly, it will reduce the risk of intruders getting access to your accounts if passwords appear in a leak.
2 – Make sure to take data breach notifications seriously. While they may seem like a nuisance, carefully reading any email or letter stating that your sensitive information appeared in a data breach can be critical to safeguarding yourself against identity theft and financial harm. If you receive notice that your information leaked, change the compromised information as soon as possible. After receiving a breach notice, be sure to monitor your financial statements and online accounts for any suspicious activity.
3 – Create unique passwords across accounts. By using different passwords across multiple online accounts, you can better ensure that if one account is compromised, the rest won’t fall with it. Adding a password manager extension on your browser (or using one that comes pre-installed) can be a big help for this.
4 – Keep personal information private. Sharing seemingly harmless pieces of information about yourself online, such as where you grew up or details about your family history, may inadvertently provide scammers with the information they need to defraud you. These anecdotes may be used to guess answers to your accounts’ security questions or they may be used to put together a convincing imposter scam.
5 – Be sure to report incidents of fraud. Many incidents of fraud go unreported as the victims may feel embarrassed or they may not think that the scam was a crime worth reporting. If you are a victim of fraud or if someone attempts to defraud you, don’t hesitate to report the incident. You can report incidents to Fraud.org, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and your local or state law enforcement. Victims who report fraud can connect with resources to alleviate harm as well as inform policymakers who work to combat scams.
6 – Only send sensitive data over trusted internet networks. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can allow other users of the network, including fraudsters, to view the information you’re sending on the web. Public Wi-Fi networks at commercial establishments are commonly unsecured. Don’t transmit passwords and other sensitive information on unsecured networks or unsecured websites (websites that don’t start with “https”).
7 – Regularly monitor your financial statements. Routinely checking your bank and credit card statements for unrecognized charges can help you to spot fraud that you may have otherwise missed. Contact your bank or credit card issuer and lock your account to prevent further misuse and receive a refund for fraudulent charges.
8 – Learn more about who you’re doing business with. Knowing the refund policies and guarantees of the businesses you’re shopping with can help you make informed decisions. This is especially important for digital marketplaces that facilitate the purchase of third-party products.
9 – Always trust your gut. If something seems off, too good to be true, or coerced, it’s best to think twice. Legitimate offers should allow you to take your time and look into the details.
10 – Remember to treat fraud victims with compassion. Too often, fraud is discussed within a context of blaming the victim. This has unfortunately created a culture where many individuals who have been scammed are too embarrassed to report the incident and therefore miss critical, remedial resources. Ultimately, the blame rests on the scammers and victims of any crime deserve our compassion.
If you or someone you know has been a fraud victim, help yourself and other by reporting it! By using Fraud.org’s secure online complaint form, your complaint will be shared with our network of consumer protection and law enforcement agency partners.