Consumer complaints are received every day from victims who clicked an email link or paid upfront for a product or service only to be conned out of their hard-earned money. Schemes and scams can be perpetrated in person, over the phone, through mail and online using a computer, laptop, tablet and/or smartphone “system.”
There are ways for you to identify scams and steps you may take to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud. Read below for pointers on how to avoid some of the most common cases.
- Set your anti-virus software to conduct automatic anti-virus system scans on a regular basis.
- If rogue emails using your email address are sent to your contact list without you knowing, you’ve been hacked! Run an anti-virus system scan then change your passwords.
- Don’t assume that public Wi-Fi networks are secure—be cautious about the information you access or send from a public wireless network.
- Verify websites are secure before submitting a credit card number. Look for https: and/or the lock icon.
- Shred credit cards or bank statements before throwing them away.
- Be aware of missed bills, which could indicate the account has been taken over.
- Be cautious of scams requiring personal identifying information.
- Never give a credit or debit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Monitor all financial statements monthly for any fraudulent activity.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least annually.
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited email requesting personal information.
- Do not assume a company is legitimate based on the appearance of the website.
- Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal identifying information. This could be a phishing scam.
- Always compare the link in the email to the link you are actually directed to visit.
- Log on to the entity’s official website, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email.
- Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
MALWARE PREVENTION: ENSURING A SAFE ONLINE EXPERIENCE
Malware is malicious computer software, including viruses, worms or spyware, created by hackers to disrupt or gain access to your sensitive information. It is important that you update your software regularly to ensure that malware hasn’t infected your system and that your personal information remains safe.
AVOID MALWARE - Keep your security software updated. Setup your security software, Internet browser and operating system to update automatically.
- Don’t click on any links or open attachments in emails unless you know who sent them and what they are.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.
- Use a pop-up blocker and don’t click on any links from pop-ups.
- Do not buy software in response to unexpected or unsolicited emails or messages.
- Back up all of your data regularly—in case your computer crashes.
DETECT MALWARE - Monitor your system for unusual behavior. Your system may be infected with malware if it:
- Slows down, crashes or displays repeated error messages.
- Won’t shut down or restart.
- Serves up a barrage of pop-ups.
- Displays web pages you didn’t intend to visit or sends emails you didn’t write.
- Displays new and unexpected toolbars.
- New and unexpected icons appear on your computer’s Internet home page.
- Is a laptop or tablet with a battery that drains more quickly than it should.
GET RID OF MALWARE - if you suspect there is malware on your computer, laptop or smartphone:
- If your system is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support, contact a specialist there for help.
- Stop shopping, banking and doing other online activities that involve user names, passwords or other sensitive information until your system has been scanned and cleared of any malware.
- Update your security software and then run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Download Trusteer Rapport
- Protects you against financial malware and removes existing infections
- Safeguards your login credentials from keyloggers beyond existing anti-virus solutions
- Ensures you’ve accessed a genuine First Republic Bank website, not a phishing site
- Takes less than a minute to download and requires little to no maintenance
- Provided at no cost to our clients