Tuesday 26 May, 2020

5 ways to protect yourself from fraud

Fraudsters have been getting more innovative when it comes to stealing your hard-earned money.

Most recently, former employees of the Unit Trust Corporation were charged with conspiracy to defraud the bank of $400,000, attempting to withdraw funds from the account of Tobago resident John Mills who was murdered in May this year.

Scotiabank has also had to warn its customers of fraudulent text messages in circulation requesting customers’ personal and banking information.

Here’s how you can safeguard yourself against potential fraudulent activity:  

1. Stay up to date on common scams 

Just as scammers and fraudsters are finding new ways to steal your funds, it's important to be current with the latest kinds of scams being used to con unsuspecting banking customers. If you're aware of their tactics, you're better prepared to avoid and prevent falling prey to fraudulent activity.

2. Regularly update your passwords and PINS

Frequently reviewing and updating access information, even when your account has not been compromised is strongly recommended. A helpful tip is is staying away from obvious choices for passwords such as your name.

Republic Bank recommends passwords not contain spaces or consist of all the characters in your Username. Likewise, a PIN should not use an obvious set of numbers like a birthday. A strong password has a combination letters (lower case and upper case), symbols and numbers.

3. Keep confidential information private at all times

Never give out personal information over the phone, via email, or unverified websites, as these are ways in which scammers gather personal information to try to gain access to your accounts. Local banks advise against responding to unsolicited e-mails, SMS messages or websites that request personal information.

Banks will not present you with unexpected websites or send you unsolicited e-mails asking for your Password, Personal Identification Number (PIN), credit card, account numbers or any other confidential information. 

4. Keep track of your transactions; flag any unusual purchases with your bank 

Always keep track of your bank records including statements and credit card transactions. If you notice any activity that doesn't look familiar to you, contact your bank immediately.

All suspicious requests and transactions should be reported to your bank immediately to avoid any loss of funds or access to your account.

5. Shred documents containing sensitive data

Documents containing any personal information should be shredded before being thrown out in the trash. Receipts, bank statements and any documents with your name, address, contact information and information which could allow fraudsters to access your bank accounts should be shredded first.

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