Covid-19 was not great for many businesses, but it opened up bumper opportunities for fraudsters. More online and e-commerce payments meant greater chances for criminals to do their worst.
According to the US-based Nilson Report the amount of money lost to card-not-present (remote payment) fraud in 2020 was six times greater than 2019 – and the figures for 2019 were four times greater than 2018. In 2020, debit card fraud increased while that of credit cards declined. Criminals also got smarter: they “utilized a mix of legitimate and bogus credentials to create a synthetic identity and sneak past fraud protection”. The US magazine Consumer Affairs says “Some scammers are even impersonating FTC (the Federal Trade Commission) staff to tempt people with non-existent awards or funds related to the pandemic”. The number of digital transactions in the US suspected to be fraud attempts rose by 46% year-on-year in 2021.
UK citizens were just as much of a target. In the UK, Citizens Advice says that 75% of adults have been targeted by criminals, a rise of 14% year-on-year. All of us are at risk of being a target of an attempted scam, but there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself from being defrauded. Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to become cynical – if something appears to be too good to be true, then it probably is. Acquire a protective shell – hide not just your PIN number when you make a transaction in person, but treat all your personal information (such as your address, your Social Security Number, your bank details) as items that are valuable and therefore worth stealing.
Don’t be rushed into any decision involving money. Never let strangers force you into fast decisions. Pause, calm yourself and think clearly and critically. Chances are you’ll quickly see the situation for what it is. Don’t be afraid to hang up and validate with your financial institution and/or law enforcement. And always report suspicious activity.
Secure your home network: Strong passwords and encryption are the best ways to secure your home network. Change your password regularly and make sure it is a strong one. Use WPA2 or WPA3 encryption so hackers can’t read the information you send. Limit access to your work device: avoid giving anyone an opportunity to view confidential material without your authorization. Be sure to shut down or lock your work computer when you aren’t around. Be careful where you click: always hover over links before you click them to make sure the hyperlink is the same as the link-to address. Be extra cautious about emails from unknown people, especially if they seem random, illogical or threatening.
And remember – no one at Glint will ever ask you what your passcode is!
Gold is security. Glint its key.
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