Stay Safe With 12 Days of Fraud Prevention Tips

There is no shortage of threats to your digital identity and data. Keep yourself, your business, and your loved ones safe from fraud with AuthenticID’s 12 Days of Fraud Prevention Tips.

Fraud Prevention Tip #1: Stay safe while shopping!

Watch our for fake online shops, marketplaces, or “lookalike” shops. They’re more prevalent than ever. Scammers can steal your credit card information or collect payment for a product they have no intention of delivering.

Here are things you can watch out for:

  • Analyze URL spelling and look for an SSL security lock 
  • Check if the site has authentic reviews 
  • Analyze the contact us or customer support section: does it lack info, or have functioning support lines?

Fraud Prevention Tip #2: Sign Up for Free Fraud Alerts

Don’t let fraud attempts fly under the radar. You can stop fraudsters in their tracks by signing up for free Fraud Alerts. This will notify creditors that they must verify your identity before extending credit.

This free service is available from companies like TransUnion, who will also alert the other major credit bureaus to ensure you’re covered across the board. You can even enact a credit freeze to ensure no one can access your credit report.

For businesses, you have fraud alert system options as well. Check out AuthenticID’s Fraud Shield,  a watchlist service that can protect your company against sophisticated bad actors in real time.

Fraud Prevention Tip #3: Keep your Children’s Identities Safe

Child identity theft is on the rise, and millions of people are impacted yearly. Fraudsters can hijack a child’s personal data for years undetected and can use their identity to apply for or open credit card accounts, obtain loans, open other accounts, or obtain government benefits fraudulently. Here are ways you can safeguard your child’s identity:

  • Keep identity documents in a secure place
  • Only provide your child’s social security number when absolutely necessary
  • Consider checking or freezing your child’s credit report
  • Pay attention to unexpected mail in your child’s name
  • Avoid social media oversharing

Fraud Prevention Tip #4: Keep Your Remote Workplace Safe!

Is your workplace remote and/or hybrid? Remote work environments have many benefits but can also leave your business open to security vulnerabilities and fraud. These fraud opportunities can occur at various points. During onboarding, companies must keep important documents safe and authenticate the identity of remote employees, vendors, and contractors. In addition, remote workers might access corporate accounts and information on unprotected wifi, leaving the door open for bad actors.

  • Ensure you are keeping your company’s system and assets safe during the holidays and all year. 
  • Upgrade your worker ID verification processes to avoid bad actors and fraudsters (and automate your workflow and minimize administrative overhead in the process!)
  • Implement stronger authentication methods, including biometrics and step-up authentication, to protect sensitive company data 
  • Train and educate your workforce to identify phishing or malware attempts

Fraud Prevention Tip #5: Caller ID Fraud

Is your phone ringing off the hook this season? It’s no surprise: phone scams increase over the holidays. A popular technique of scammers is spoofing phone numbers, meaning the number is fake or “spoofed” so that the bad actor can conduct a scam. They might use a number that is in your area code and/or looks familiar to increase the chance you respond. Once you do, a scammer has access to you to perpetrate any number of schemes, whether it’s a claim that you owe money, or an account of yours has been compromised, or may impersonate a brand to attempt to gain access to your accounts, credentials, and PII. 

Protect yourself from this fraud by doing the following:

  • Don’t answer the call- even by answering and hanging up, your number can be marked as a live working number, leading to further calls. 
  • Don’t return the calls.
  • Reach out to your teleco provider to learn about the call-blocking services available to you.

Fraud Prevention Tip #6: Beware Holiday Email Scams

Treat those unsolicited holiday emails you receive with skepticism. Phishing scams get a little more festive this holiday season, with tactics that can sometimes fool even the most vigilant recipient. Scammers will spoof brands and organizations that you recognize, claiming can’t-miss deals or even a hacked Amazon account after holiday shopping. Subscription scams also spike at the end of the year. Or you could receive an email from a fraudulent charity. If you engage with these scams, your account information, money, and, worse, identity, could be stolen. 

While the types of holiday scam emails can vary, there are several consistent ways to stay safe. 

  • Check the sender’s email- if anything looks amiss, it may be fraud.
  • Comb through emails for errors. 
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links if you don’t know the sender. 
  • Never provide sensitive information through email.

Fraud Prevention #7: Stop Package Delivery Scams

Like many shoppers during the holidays and throughout the year, packages might be arriving at your doorstep on a regular basis. It’s a golden opportunity for bad actors. Over a third of people have received a fake delivery or shipment notification. If you’re waiting on packages, you might be tempted to click on a link or respond to a text that claims to be from Amazon or a delivery company. Scammers can spoof email addresses or use urgent language, like a false missed delivery notification, to prompt you to take action. The texts or emails will take you to a fake website aimed to steal your personal information. They can impact individuals and businesses alike.

Use best practices to ensure you don’t get fooled by package delivery scams. 

  • Always get tracking numbers for the items you purchase online to ensure you can follow the delivery process. 
  • Visit the merchant or carrier website directly, not through a text or email link.
  • Look for the telltale signs of phishing, including spelling or grammatical errors, urgent requests, imposter URLs, and requests for money, financial, or other information. 

Fraud Prevention Tip #8: Use Strong/Healthy Password Protection

Whether we’re shopping, doing business, or any other online activity that recreates login credentials, password best practices can help keep fraudsters and bad actors at bay. 

Passwords are often easily cracked by hackers, leaked, or, worse, given away after social engineering or phishing attacks. 

For individuals, here are a few ways you can make your account passwords stronger: 

  • Create a long, complex passphrase that is easy for you to remember
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication, including biometric authentication
  • Use different passwords for each account
  • Don’t use hint questions, which are easily guessed or searched for by hackers via social media or data leaks
  • Use a password manager

For businesses, enforcing proper password protection and management can help ensure you can keep employees, customers, and your data safe. 

  • Enforce complex passwords
  • Implement Multi-Factor Authentication, including biometric authentication 
  • Reset passwords across your organization after any compromise 
  • Go passwordless, via biometric passwords or passwordless authentication

If you’re curious how biometrics can strengthen your password practices, visit our website: 

Fraud Prevention Tip #9: Don’t Overshare on Social Media

Over the holiday season, your social media usage might be at an all-time high: sharing photos and videos of cherished memories, staying in touch with friends, maybe even participating in fun trends. However, social media can provide fraudsters with a wealth of opportunities to steal your identity. Here’s how to protect yourself: 

  • Steer clear of popular questionnaires that ask your first pet’s name, high school mascot, or other data that could also be used to expose your PII or answers to account security questions
  • Set your profile to private, and be sure that everyone in your friends list is actually someone you know
  • Don’t share purchases or information about your loved ones or where you live
  • Be mindful if tagging others in photos or geotagging media 
  • Don’t use your work email for personal social media accounts and don’t post photos of your workspace

Fraud Prevention Tip #10: Schedule Time for Review

Reduce your fraud risk by setting aside review time. Whether you’re a business or individual, scheduling a time to review and audit your documents, credit reports, and statements on a regular basis will ensure you stay ahead of fraud.

Organization management should review key financial reports, ask questions, and follow up. Internal audits can allow for a closer look at any reports and abnormalities.

Implementing an annual or biannual fraud risk assessment can help your business adapt to any company changes, understand your fraud risks, and help you focus your fraud prevention efforts.

Individuals should periodically review their credit report for unauthorized accounts, and maintain a close look at financial statements, strange requests or accounts appearing on social media. Also review your computer and phone settings to ensure you have the latest software and patches installed. 

Fraud Prevention Tip #11: Educate yourself and others

The most important thing you can do to prevent fraud? Educate yourself and others. Ensure your loved ones are not only practicing safe internet use, but keeping their personal data just that- personal. Your loved ones may not be as tech savvy, or as knowledgeable about the growing numbers of sophisticated scams that can steal their identities. A few minutes now can provide a layer of protection against future fraud attempts. 

For businesses, employees are a first line of defense. Regular training sessions on security threats and prevention measures and enforcement of strong, updated security policies can help keep company confidential information safe. 

Fraud Prevention Tip #12: Stay Up To Date

Fraud continues to get more sophisticated- and technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Staying up to date on the latest threats and ways to protect yourself is key to continue to keep fraudsters away from your personal information.

Resources like the Identity Theft Resource Center, the FTC, and the ACFE offer information on common and growing scams, resources for identity theft victims, and resources so that you can report fraud. 

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