When it comes to protecting your financial security, you can never be too safe. The reality is that financial fraud isn’t completely preventable—but there are ways of protecting yourself from credit card fraud and forms of identity theft to minimize your risk. In this article, we’re going to share a handful of best practices you can use to protect your personal information from financial scams and identity thieves.
Check your bank account regularly
Logging in to your bank account daily is the fastest way to notice any suspicious or unauthorized financial activity. Carve 5 to 10 minutes out of your day to review your credit card statements and bank accounts to keep a close eye on your balances, and don’t only look for sizeable withdrawals. Sometimes a scammer may make small purchases to see what they can get away with.
Pro-tip: It’s smart to enable online banking alerts and card controls that notify you of any transactions made using your account. This way, you can immediately spot if someone else is using your account to make unauthorized charges. If you need to report lost or stolen cards, think you’re a victim of credit card theft, have discovered a fraudulent charge, or are experiencing an account takeover from an unauthorized individual, contact your credit card issuer immediately.
Monitor your credit report regularly
If a scammer gets their hands on personal information like your name, Social Security number, or bank account numbers, they may try to open credit card or loan accounts under your name. Just like your bank account, it’s wise to check your credit reports regularly so you can identify suspicious or fraudulent activity before it gets out of control.
You can get your credit report for free at any time without impact to your credit score at Best Egg Financial Health. We also offer 24/7 credit monitoring with your free membership. If you receive an alert on your credit report, we can help you contact the credit bureaus to make sure your credit score isn’t impacted.
Destroy any documents containing sensitive information
Any documents containing your private financial information can be used to steal your identity and commit financial fraud. Avoid leaving credit card statements, bank deposit receipts, or other sensitive documents lying around. Once you’re done with them, shred them and dispose of them safely.
Make sure you know who you’re dealing with
Whether you’re purchasing an item online, applying for a financial product, or signing up for a service, it’s always worthwhile to make sure the company you’re dealing with is legitimate. Look up reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot for confirmation that who you’re doing business with is safe and reputable.
Think twice before you click
According to the FBI, phishing is the most common type of cybercrime—and with incidents multiplying in frequency from year to year, there’s no sign of it slowing down. Phishing emails usually look like they’re from a company you know or trust, like your bank, lender, or an online store where you shop—and that’s what makes them so effective.
If you get an email or text message that asks you to open an attachment, click a link, or send over your personal financial information, think twice before you engage with it. If it’s from a company you’re involved with and you think it could be legitimate, it’s worth contacting the company using their official phone number and asking them about it. They’ll be able to confirm or deny if it came from them.
Create strong and secure passwords
When you’re creating a password for any type of account, the last thing you want to do is include personal, easily guessable information like your name, birthday, or street name. Instead, come up with a password that’s hard to guess but easy to remember.
Here are a few tips for creating a strong password:
- The more characters, the more secure. Just make sure you can remember it!
- Use a mix of characters like numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Random passwords are the hardest to guess. Try using a password generator if you need help.
Pro-tip: If you have the option, it’s worth it to enable two-factor authentication. Once enabled, you’ll sign into your account in two steps. You’ll typically enter your username and password on the site, then enter a unique code that’s emailed, texted, or sent by other means to you. In this case, even if someone got your login credentials, they wouldn’t have the code and would be unable to access your account.
Best Egg’s customer service guarantee
At Best Egg, we value being clear and transparent with our customers. We promise to always do the right thing to make you feel secure and confident about your account and your interactions with us.
Our specialists are account-level experts, so feel free to email, text, call, or chat with them to discuss anything and everything regarding your account. If something’s unclear, you need more information on a specific topic, or you feel uncomfortable with your interaction, a manager can absolutely address your concerns. You should always have the option to request to speak with a manager or have someone return your message.
Rest assured, we’ll never ask about age, race, or national origin, as these topics are not in any way related to your Best Egg account. Our specialists are professional, polite, and are determined to offer the highest level of service and education regarding your account.
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide financial, tax or legal advice. You should consult a professional for specific advice. Best Egg is not responsible for the information contained in third-party sites cited or hyperlinked in this article. Best Egg is not responsible for, and does not provide or endorse third party products, services or other third-party content.