We keep handling more and more of our financial affairs online, via our desktops, laptops, tablets, and even phones, which is a good thing but it’s also allowed fraudsters to develop numerous ways to exploit and steal money, information, and personal identity. The truth is, once your personal information is stored on an electronic device, it is exposed to hackers. However, there are ways in which you could protect yourself and your finances. Let’s first go over what financial cybercrime is
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime comes in many forms including identity theft and financial fraud. It is mostly committed by cybercriminals or hackers who want to make money. There are multiple ways in which they do so, firstly they target your computer with viruses and then use them to spread malware throughout your computer or network. Phew! Sounds hectic, doesn’t it? Well, we’ve got tips to help you protect yourself from financial cybercrime.
Tips to protect yourself from financial cybercrime
Use strong passwords
Many hackers go on the internet to exploit people’s weak and guessable passwords. It’s understandable that you want to remember your passwords easily hence you resort to date of birth and names, but that simply puts your finances at risk. Use strong passwords, we’d recommend that your passwords should be at least eight characters; include a combination of numbers, letters and symbols.
Protect your personal information
While you are required to put in your personal information when making a purchase online, however, ensure that the store you’re about to make a purchase from is legit. Scammers are getting smarter by the day, and it may be difficult to tell if you are being scammed. Pay attention to privacy policies. Understand how an organisation might collect and use your personal information.
Another important tip when it comes to protecting your personal information is to never allow others to access your password-protected sites without you being present. If someone does, change your password. Your computer may be safe—but what if theirs isn’t? Be alert, always!
Check financial records regularly
Frequently monitoring your financial statements is one of the easiest ways to catch online crimes quicker after they’ve happened. Many banks use fraud protection systems to flag unusual behaviour – i.e. large or unusual purchases. Also, they will ask you to confirm online purchases before the money is deducted from your account– take serious note of these.
Always use secure WI-FI to access accounts
Don’t use free Wi-Fi services to access your accounts. Always make sure you access your files, especially your financial accounts, on a secure server. There have been plenty of cases where large companies have lost huge amounts of money due to cybercrime and fraud. So it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to free WI-FI services and monitor what you use it for if you do.
If you’re worried about your online banking or purchases making you vulnerable to cyber-attack, which you should be, but if you follow our tips you should be fine. However, should you need help with managing your finances or even financial advice, contact BORWA Financial Services.