Digital Hygiene: Tips to Help Secure Your Wallet

Digital Hygiene: Tips to Help Secure Your Wallet
Topics Fraud PreventionIdentity TheftOnline Security

The internet has provided a host of benefits to many consumers’ lives, enabling them to do research, make purchases and much more with just a few clicks.

This ease and convenience can be great when used properly, but what about when scammers leverage technology to target their victims?

Here are tips to help identify and protect yourself from common scams and enhance your digital hygiene.

Common Scam Tactics

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers lost more than $10 billion to fraud in 2023, including $1.8 billion lost to bank transfer or payments fraud. Among scammers’ tactics:

  • Phishing and Spoofing: Imposter scams were the top fraud tactic in 2023, according to the FTC, and phishing and spoofing are just some of the tools in scammers’ arsenal. Phishing involves scammers sending malicious links via email, texts, social media and more under the guise of it being from a legitimate business or personal contact. Fraudsters are also known to spoof legitimate phone numbers and websites for the business or person they’re pretending to be. Bank impersonation is just one of the ways scammers have been targeting their victims, but they’re also known to claim you “owe money,” “have a package waiting,” “won a prize” and more to get you to click a malicious link without thinking.
  • Social Engineering and Artificial Intelligence (AI): The rise of AI has only provided scammers with more ways to perpetrate their fraud. Scammers use videos, photos and other information found online about you or a loved one and then create realistic “deep fakes” that may look and sound just like someone you know. They may even pretend to be a celebrity or famous athlete and look to form a “relationship” with their potential victims through social engineering. These scams will typically include pressure tactics to get you to act quickly for payment and the scammer pretending to be a loved one may even claim they’re in trouble and need money to help. Asking for payment via cash, gift cards or cryptocurrency are just a few red flags that you’re being scammed.
  • Wire Transfers and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Payment Fraud: Wire transfers and P2P payment platforms can make it easy and convenient to send money to friends and loved ones but can also be the target of scammers. Scammers will often contact potential victims claiming to be from their bank or another legitimate company and state there is an “issue” with your account. Scammers will ask for login credentials and other personal information that you should never share with anyone, even if they claim to be from your bank. They will then claim they sent you a code and need the number to unlock your account. NEVER provide this code. This typically means the scammer is trying to reset your password and gain unfettered access to your accounts before transferring money out.

Ways to Protect Yourself

  • Perform a Privacy Checkup and Secure Devices: Ensure all your devices are password, PIN or biometric login protected, turn on auto-lock features, back up your devices frequently, set a SIM card PIN, and encrypt your devices’ storage. Keep your device software up to date with the latest updates.
  • Use Strong Passwords: Using unique passwords for each app and website is vital, as is making sure they are not easily guessable. Passwords should be updated regularly and using a password manager can help simplify the process of memorizing multiple logins. Enabling multifactor authentication can add a layer of security. You can also check if your passwords have been compromised at
  • Don’t Overshare Online: Social media is great for connecting with friends and loved ones but can also be where scammers learn about their victims. Check your social media accounts’ privacy settings to ensure they meet your preferences, turn off GPS when posting pictures, review your friend/follower lists to remove any suspicious accounts and limit how much personal information you share online.
  • Know How Your Bank Communicates with You: As fraudsters continue to get more sophisticated in their tactics, it is vital to ensure you know how and when your bank will communicate with you. When it doubt, delete the messages without clicking links or providing information and call your bank directly using the number on their website or the back of your debit/credit card.
  • Only Send Money to Those You Know: The digital age has made sending money a breeze with just a few clicks, but it is important you only send money to those you know closely. Sending a small test transaction first can be a good way to ensure the funds make it to your desired recipient.
  • Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists: If you have provided your email when making purchases in the past resulting in unwanted emails, unsubscribing can help reduce your SPAM and help prevent your information from being gathered by third parties.
  • Phone Apps: Take control of your app settings. Read the terms and conditions on apps and restrict what they have access to like the camera, microphone, contacts, etc. Make sure you know how apps are used to share your personal information.
  • Delete Old Email Accounts: If you have an old email account you are no longer using, delete the account. Hackers could gain control of the email account and have access to messages and contacts, and they may even use this account to impersonate you.

If You’ve Been a Victim

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