Julie Perez, Vice President—Operations
Bryan Handell, Investigator—Aurora Police Department
As the banking industry continues to work to keep your accounts safe from would-befraudsters and scammers, here are nine tips we put together, with help from Investigator Bryan Handell of the Aurora Police
Department, to aid in protecting your personal information and financial accounts.
1. Monitor your accounts. Too many people never even open their bank or credit card statements to review activity in their accounts. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the sooner we can shut it down.
2. Look over your shoulder. Whenever providing information to a salesclerk or customer service representative or when keying it into an ATM, be wary of shoulder-surfers lurking nearby.
3. Carry only what you need. It’s rare that you would need to have your Social Security card in your wallet. If necessary, carry a photocopy with the last four digits blacked out.
4. Keep your eye on cash. In crowds, men are advised to keep their wallets in their front pockets. In bars and restaurants, women should resist the urge to sling their purses over the backs of chairs.
5. Be a good Samaritan, just not a naïve one. It’s natural to want to help, but it can be an intentional distraction to divert your attention away from a pickpocket taking advantage of the crowds at a concert, sporting event or any other busy event. Help, but stay aware.
6. Verify before you trust. It’s okay to provide personal information when you’ve called your credit card company or bank or logged on to their secure site. It’s not okay when the contact is unsolicited. Even a caller I.D. number can be manipulated—verify such calls independently.
7. Take your password protection seriously. Use a strong password, and don’t use it for everything or base it on information easily inferred from looking at your Facebook or LinkedIn pages.
8. Don’t toss—shred instead. Dumpster diving is a real thing, especially in areas with alleys or where garbage bins are left unsecure. Also, keep your papers, passwords and files out of sight. Financial fraud is often committed by those closest to us—a family member or friend who sees an opportunity and goes for it.
9. Educate your children. From naïve sources of personal information to easy targets for fast-money counterfeit check scams, kids and young adults can unintentionally sabotage their financial well-being and yours. Foster a greater sense of awareness and skepticism to help keep both their information and money safe as well as yours.
“The thing to remember is that criminals look for easy targets. By being aware and taking a few defensive moves, you can appear not to be worth the trouble,” advises Investigator Handell.
For more tips, check our website.