PREVENTING FINANCIAL SERVICES FRAUD 2023
By: Barbara Mathey
Many people appreciate services that provide convenience and save time. These products may be convenient, however, they can also increase our vulnerability to fraud and theft. If you are planning to use today’s advanced technology and financial services products it is time to rethink your Cell Phone, Tablet, Laptop, and all Media access including gaming devices. Our Credit Union’s technology consultant strongly suggests that we take the following actions to protect ourselves as we attempt to improve our quality of life by using these systems.
First, you must PASSWORD protect all your devices – and don’t use 1-2-3-4 but something more complex even if it’s four-digits (mix letters and numbers). And on Mobile and Tablet Devices, set security controls such as the number of bad attempts that lock the phone completely or even erases data. Also, make sure that you have fraud notifications sent to multiple channels, not just the device itself. For instance, send fraud reports to the mobile device but also to your email or a backup device. All fraud services offer multiple alert channels. This is very different for each device, so again please take the time to learn the dangers of failed security protection.
Here’s a good real-world example of this latest snowstorm. A cell phone owner was leaving work near the airport, car was covered in snow – got the car started, went to clear the windshield and somewhere cell phone fell out of his pocket and disappeared in the snow. He was unable to find it – here’s how the fraud hit within 6 hours and he didn’t know until the following morning – more than 12 hours later.
- The phone was not password protected.
- He was a cash-app user and had many other financial services products loaded on his phone
- He had his Debit Card programmed into his phone to easily access the apps and products he used on a regular basis
- The fraudsters had no problem in transferring multiple $100 increments and could have depleted his entire checking account of more than $2,000 in less than 10 minutes
- He was unaware for hours because even though he had fraud protection set up on his debit card – the only notification was to his mobile number.
Please re-think your device security, double-check all the settings, use VPN tools where available and be sure to have multiple alert channels for when things go wrong – not if but when – because we are all going to have it happen sooner or later. Don’t put off protecting yourself, it will be worth your time and could save you money and time.