Fraud can happen to anyone – anywhere, any time. Chances are, you have probably received fraudulent emails or phone calls, encountered fraudulent websites or received fraudulent mail at your home. In a world filled with fraudulent activity, stay alert to ways that you can reduce your risk of personal fraud. Below we’ve compiled our fraud content in a fraud prevention guide to help you protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Do your part to protect against cybersecurity threats

While cybersecurity should always be top of mind for consumers, the pandemic, large-scale cybersecurity hacks and social unrest in the U.S. have brought it to the forefront. According to Nexusguard’s Annual Threat Report 2020 cyberattacks increased by 341% during COVID-19. Cybercriminals are using this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to take advantage of individuals who may be distracted, unfamiliar with technology or generally more vulnerable. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s not a matter of if an individual will become a victim, but when, so making yourself a more challenging target to scammers is vital.

Protect yourself online

The internet is part of nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s working online, online shopping, using apps on a mobile device, email, social media or reading the news, the internet and your information are accessed daily.

It’s important to remember that in addition to offering convenient access to resources, the internet can also expose you to social engineering, identity theft, fraud or other cybercrimes. What we do online, whether at home or work, has the potential to affect everyone. To help prevent online fraud or loss, make an effort to improve and change your online habits.

Now more than ever, it is essential to learn how you can protect yourself and your information when using the internet. Use these four tips to protect yourself and your information.

  • Don’t use free Wi-Fi networks unless you know they are secure.
  • Create strong passwords and use credit cards, not debit cards, when making purchases online. You can also add two-factor authentication to all of your accounts.
  • Think before you click! Don’t fall for a phishing scam. Look for names spelled wrong and always verify email addresses and phone numbers before you respond.
  • Protect the elderly – one in five elderly Americans are victims of financial exploitation each year.

Every day for a month, implement one of these 31 ways to stay cyber sharp

Following an unprecedented year that saw an increase of Americans conducting their everyday activities online, keeping cyber safety top of mind is critical. According to a recent Upwork Study, 1 in 4 Americans will continue working from home in 2021. Over the past year and a half, the additional remote workers have opened up new ways for criminals to target individuals, and as people continue working from home this risk continues to increase. By implementing one of these suggested activities every day for a month, you can be better protected online in just 31 days.

Stay cyber-safe during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Cybercriminals use deception and take advantage of fear, which means it’s more important than ever to stay aware and vigilant of COVID-19 scams so you can help prevent fraud. Social distancing and getting vaccinated (if you can) are all current recommendations for personal care during COVID-19. But this is also a time to be mindful of other ways COVID-19 could impact finances and confidential information. From mobile alerts to communications scams and insurance fraud, the changing landscape that has resulted from the pandemic is leaving room for increased cyber risk opportunities.

Watch for scams during the holiday season

The holiday season is a time when many people will be spending the season shopping, spending and traveling – as is prime time for scams and scammers to take advantage.  Make sure to stay in the holiday spirit by following a few simple tips:

  • Be careful where you charge your phone
  • Know how to spot an ATM or pay-at-the-pump card skimmer
  • Consider using your smartphone’s mobile wallet

Vigilance is key when trying to stay safe online. If something looks weird or feels off, confirm before you click on anything or enter personal data. A personal banker can help answer your questions about how to stay safe online.

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