International Fraud Awareness Week is November 12-18 - 5 Steps to Stay Safe
International Fraud Awareness Week is November 12-18 and it’s a good reminder for everyone to be on the lookout for fraud. How can you stay safe?
Dr. Richard White is an expert in the fields of cybersecurity infrastructure, remediation, and program development. He is author of Cybercrime: The madness behind the methods. He is the former chief information security officer for the United States Capitol Police, and course chair for the Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program at the University of Maryland University College.
Dr. White’s 5 steps to help prevent fraud:
- Take the necessary precautions: Keep an eye on your credit card statements, credit reports, banking statements, retirement accounts and entitlement programs (social security, Medicaid, etc.). Quickly report and provide evidence of anomalous behavior to the reporting agencies and law enforcement. Lock and monitor your credit, and place a fraud alert on your files with your creditors. Properly dispose of all financial and personal account information by using a shredder, because there are "bad guys" that deliberately sift trash in order to find personal and financial information for the purposes of committing fraud.
- Pay attention to traditional snail mail: Be on the lookout for fake mailers that are so well designed that they appear to have come from the IRS or a reputable financial institution. These are usually for fake or false loans, promises to ease your tax burden and forms that may be already partially completed in anticipation that you will fill-in the vital data and send it back. This personal information is then used to create false identities, request loans in your name or make an expert attempt at accessing your bank accounts and/or credit accounts.
- Make sure your connection is secure: When looking at your bank account, credit card accounts or any other website that displays important personal information, always make sure the lock icon is displayed in your URL bar and that the letters HTTPS proceed your URL connection. If you must login, change passwords often, do not use the same password across multiple accounts and use a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Be careful when opening email: Never click, download or forward email from an unknown source or from a suspicious sender. The email may be loaded with malicious software and/or executables that will allow hackers access to your data and systems. This has the potential to lead to many avenues of fraud - identify theft, financial fraud, entitlement and credit fraud.
- Take a 360-degree approach: The main issue with fraud is that there are so many ways in which we are vulnerable. The sad reality is it’s everywhere these days. When the average consumer is examining solutions to help mitigate fraud, they must take a 360-degree perspective. To simplify the process, look at the areas where you are most vulnerable. Mostly this occurs online, and while processing and transmitting financial and/or private data.
Would you be interested in speaking to Dr. White? If so, I’m happy to set it up.