5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud Online

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud Online

Ah, the joys of online banking. A world of conveniences and perks, like carrying your bank with you wherever you go. But with great benefits can come great risks. Scammers and fraudsters are out there, trying their hardest to commit identity theft, steal your personal information, your money, and more. Whether it’s phishing attacks, impersonating trusted sources, or other shady tactics, today’s security technologies and protocols can help protect you.

The first line of defense against scammers is always yourself. To fully protect yourself and your money, take a strong, active role in your own fraud prevention with these simple and useful fraud prevention tips.

1. Use Strong Passwords

Strong cybersecurity starts with a strong password. But what is a “strong” password? Here are some qualities:

  • At least 14 characters
  • A combination of lowercase and capital letters, numbers and symbols, and special characters
  • No straight-forward, predictable words (like “password,”), number combinations (like “1234,”), or personal information (like familiar names, phone numbers, or a child’s birthday)
  • No substitutions (such as @ for a, 3 for e, () or 0 for o)

Here are some tips for how to develop strong passwords:

  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • Don’t use the same password for more than one site or app (try to use a different password for each site and app you log into).
  • Change your passwords regularly, and once you change a password, never use the same one again.
  • Don’t write your passwords down anywhere or keep them on your phone, computer, or browser. If you do write your passwords down, keep them in a secure space.
  • Try to use a cloud-based password manager to track and manage your passwords. (Browser-based password managers and password manager apps on your phone can be more easily hacked.)
  • Find a good password manager that will not only store your passwords, but also suggest strong passwords and autofill your passwords after verifying your identity.
  • Use a password manager that requires your fingerprint or face ID in order to log in. This keeps your password protected and makes it much harder for fraudsters to spy on your activity.

2. Use a Secure Internet Connection

Only use secure, known Internet connections to log into any website or app, especially when you’re banking online or entering personal information. When logging into an email or banking site or app, try to never use public WiFi, like at an airport or coffeeshop. Hackers and scammers can intercept those networks more easily. Try to use your phone’s mobile data if you can’t find a secure connection. If you’re frequently on-the-go, a virtual private network (VPN), which scans and tracks all incoming and outgoing transmissions, might be the way to go for you. And always, always log out once you’re finished. Never just close the app or browser window.

3. Keep Your Tech Up to Date

Always install updates to your phone or computer’s operating system and apps as soon as they become available. These updates often contain cybersecurity upgrades and advances that will beef up your security and keep you safe from the latest cyberthreats.

Your software isn’t the only tech to keep current. Older phones, computers, tablets, and laptops may have security flaws that hackers can exploit. Older systems might not have enough memory or computing power to run the necessary cybersecurity software to protect you from the latest innovations in cyberattacks. So now you have a great new excuse to get a new phone or laptop!

4. Avoid suspicious messages

Scammers will often make emails and other messaging look like it’s coming from your online bank, pretending to alert you of suspicious activity on your account or instructing you to click a link. They may call you on the phone or send a text asking you to enter your Social Security number or PIN to verify your identity. They may reach out to you on Instagram and other social media channels, pretending to be your bank and informing you that you’ve won a contest. Don’t be fooled!

Only open emails and messages from trusted sources, and if you do open an email from an untrusted source, never click a link or provide personal information. If the source looks familiar but you’re not sure, log into your GO2bank account online or on the app directly to see if you have any messages there rather than clicking any suspicious links.

Try to follow these guidelines when faced with suspicious messages:

  • Never click a link in a text message from a sender you don’t know.
  • Always independently confirm the name, address, and contact information you receive in a text, social media message, letter, or over the phone.
  • Never give out personal or payment information to an unfamiliar caller. If you believe the caller may be legitimate, call them back at their listed number (not the phone number they give you).
  • If it doesn’t contain your name, a verifiable sender, the last four digits of your account number, or any other verifiable details, don’t trust it!

5. Backup Your Data

In the unfortunate event your data is stolen or you can’t access it, having a backup can save you. Then you can contact any trusted individuals and companies to report the breach, change your passwords, and secure your data in whatever ways you can. Backup all personal data on your phone and other electronic devices, and do it regularly. Use a cloud-based app or service to schedule regular backups. Then you won’t ever need to think about it!

GO2bank is designed with your security in mind, keeping your money and your information protected.1 Whether it’s 24/7 access to your money on our secure and intuitive mobile app, fraud alerts2 if we ever notice something suspicious, and the ability to lock or unlock your card3 with just a few taps, you can rest easy knowing your information stays yours and yours alone. Open an account today and unlock exclusive perks, like getting your pay up to 2 days early4 and government benefits up to 4 days early.

The views and opinions expressed here may not represent the views and opinions of GO2bank, Green Dot Corporation, or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or business advice.​

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