Consumers Getting Smarter About Fraud

Consumers Getting Smarter About Fraud…but Not Fast Enough

Consumers are Learning, but so are Fraudsters

Good news: consumers, as a whole, are getting better about fraud awareness. At least, that’s what a new report from risk management company Featurespace shows.

The company’s U.S. Consumer Fraud Sentiment Survey shows consumers’ understanding of fraud and how to protect themselves from it is growing. However, it’s not all rosy. There are still plenty of areas in which consumers need to do better in the fight against criminal activity in the digital space.

Study Results

One of the study’s key takeaways suggests that consumers take monitoring for fraudulent activity very seriously. Roughly 77% of all respondents checked their bank account at least once per week. Of course, some go even further; of those who check their bank account online at least weekly, 35% check their information on a daily basis.

As Featurespace CTO and founder Dave Excell commented, “It is clear that consumers are increasingly aware of fraud and as a result are taking the time to more frequently check their statements.”

High-profile attacks like the Equifax hack revealed in September 2017 drive home the threat consumers are under from fraudsters. But of course, even with more widespread awareness of risk sources, fraud still happens regularly. The study also revealed that more than one-third of consumers canceled a credit or debit card—or closed their bank account due to a security concern—in just the last year.

Clearly, fraud remains a problem despite increased awareness. That’s because it’s not just the major attacks you need to worry about. Fraudsters deploy new tactics every day to steal from cardholders and honest businesses.

So…what can you do about it?

5 Fraud Prevention Tips

Don’t let yourself be become a victim of fraudsters! We have five quick tips you can incorporate into your everyday routine that can help you identify suspicious activity:

What Out for Imposters

The best way to trick someone is to impersonate someone they trust. This can be a friend or family member, or an official, like a representative from the Social Security Administration.

Never give out personal information to people who solicit you unexpectedly via phone or email. You can’t rely on caller ID, as scammers can find ways to work around that technology. If you feel that a caller might be telling the truth, try hanging up, then calling back yourself using a number you trust.

Don’t Open Strange Attachments

Fraudsters can use email attachments to infect your device. If you click on the attached file, it could automatically install malicious software on your device that the fraudster can use to steal your information. You should never open email attachments unless they’re from a trusted source.

Antivirus Protection

Of course, email isn’t the way fraudsters can access your device. A good antifraud software can help protect you against viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats you encounter online. The antivirus protection will stop these and other malicious items from being installed on your machine, and will regularly scan for any that are present.

Pay by Credit

No honest organization or government office will require you to pay by money order or gift card. Similarly, while debit cards provide some protection against fraud, you could be liable for any fraud up to $500. If it’s reported more than 60 days after the transaction, though, you may not have any coverage.

If you need to make a transaction remotely, credit cards offer more fraud protection than other payment methods.

Be Skeptical

Remember: if an offer sounds a little too good to be true…then it probably is. For example, if someone offers you a free $100 gift card if you’re willing to pay a processing fee, it is probably a scam. Similarly, don’t let anyone pressure you or try to intimidate you into surrendering money or personal information. Do your research before you ever surrender any information to anyone.

These are the basics, but just because you adopt all these practices and behaviors doesn’t mean you’re completely insulated against fraud. As mentioned before, fraudsters are creative, and they’re always looking for new ways to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Don’t let fraudsters get to you…get smart about criminal fraud. If you identify a charge on your statement you don’t recognize, contact eConsumers Services. We’ll help you get to the