Avoiding Scams: Online Tips to Help You Protect Your Finances

October 2, 2023

Picture this: You're sitting at your favorite coffee shop, sipping on your morning latte, and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to check your banking app for your account balance. It's a routine you've repeated countless times. But you may not realize just how dangerous it is to do so. By using public Wi-Fi, you just made your bank account susceptible to hacking. It's unfortunate that something so simple could cause so much harm.

The bright side is that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means there's no better time than right now to learn how to safeguard your personal banking information from scammers. Read on for insights into common scams and how to prevent them.

4 Types of Fraud You Need to Know About

One of the best ways to avoid personal banking fraud is to be aware of what types of attacks you may fall prey to. Here are four common ones:

· Phishing attacks: Phishing comes in many different ways however one method is receiving an email that appears to be from your bank, urgently requesting your login credentials. These deceptive messages often mimic trusted sources and lead to fake websites designed to steal your information.

· Account takeovers: Scammers employ various tactics to gain unauthorized access to your personal accounts. Look out for unexpected account activity or unfamiliar login locations as potential signs of an account takeover.

· Identity theft: Cyber criminals use stolen personal information, like the information they can access through your bank account. This way they can pretend to be you and take out credit cards and loans in your name, which can leave you in debt and with a damaged credit score.

· Online purchase scams: Online shopping offers convenience, but it also attracts scammers. Before you buy, be cautious of unbelievably low prices and unprofessional-looking websites.

How to Defend Yourself Against Cyberattacks

While you may not be able to avoid every scam that comes your way, if you learn how to practice safe personal banking habits, you can significantly lower your risks. Use these best practices to defend against fraudsters:

· Strong password management: Create unique and complex passwords for each account and use a password manager to keep them safe. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.

· Email and communication hygiene: Scrutinize emails for signs of phishing, such as unfamiliar sender addresses or urgent requests for personal information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.

· Secure online shopping: You should only shop with reputable online retailers. If you are ever unsure if a website is legitimate, look it up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot websites to check customer reviews and complaints.

· Regular account monitoring: Make it a habit to regularly review your bank statements and transactions for any unauthorized or suspicious activities. You can set up alerts to receive notifications of unusual account behavior so you can act quickly if anything untoward does occur.

Stay vigilant

If you suspect fraud or a security breach, act promptly. Contact your bank to report the issue and follow their guidance. Additionally, report the incident to relevant authorities.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a vital reminder of the digital dangers we face every day, but staying on guard all year round is just as important. You want to constantly remain on the lookout for phishing attempts, monitor your accounts, and encourage others to do the same.

For more on protecting yourself agains fraud, check out additional resources here.

Please note: The content in this article comes from individual opinions and experiences. The content should not be taken as advice coming from City National Bank of Florida. City National Bank of Florida does not offer tax, legal or accounting advice.



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