Protecting yourself from financial crimes is a daily fight. Scammers and hackers view getting your information as their job. They’ll spend as much time as they need scouring for victims until they find the right one. Most times, it’s not an elaborate scheme that people fall prey to. It’s negligence. Scammers are counting on you making one mistake. Once you do, and often before you’re even aware of it, they have your information.

Being hacked or scammed is frustrating for multiple reasons. On top of the financial and emotional toll, there’s the hassle of changing passwords, getting new cards, and updating accounts. Keeping yourself protected takes a lot of little steps. If you do them right, you can help keep yourself safe. Here are five tips on protection, as well as three common tactics that scammers use.

  • Always block the keypad from view when entering your pin. It doesn’t matter if no one is around you; get into the habit of doing it.
  • Do not provide sensitive personal or financial information over the phone. Your bank or the police will never email or call you and ask for your pin. If you experience someone doing this, you should reach out to your bank directly and inform them.
  • Make sure that any website you make purchases from is safe. The browser address should change from “http” to “https” to show that you have a secure connection.
  • Check your bank statement regularly and compare it to your receipts. This step takes diligence but is the best way to catch questionable transactions.
  • Before using an ATM, check the card reader for a “skimmer.” Skimmers are disguised to look like part of the machine, but running your card through it will copy your information.

Some financial crimes are out in the open and even require you to take an active role. Here are just a few of the techniques scammers commonly use to gain your trust:

  • A door-to-door salesperson who attempts to push home repairs on you. They’ll offer to get started for a deposit, and then they’re gone. Always use reputable companies for repairs or maintenance.
  • Calls or emails from “relatives” who claim to be in trouble and in need of an immediate wire transfer. They might say they’re in jail and don’t want to call their parents or their car is broken down, but it always ends with them asking for money as soon as you can send it.
  • Random calls from the IRS or police stations that claim your identity was stolen or that you’re actually in legal trouble yourself. The conversation will turn to you verifying your identity by giving them your Social Security number, address, bank info, and whatever else they want.

It takes only one mistake to become the victim of financial fraud. Taking a proactive approach in guarding your information and knowing how scammers operate will help build up your defenses.

If you need assistance with the protection and guidance of your finances, please reach out to us today.