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3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud on Social Media

With Chris Zike, VP of Operations

In my role as VP of operations at Citizens Bank, I oversee the fraud department. It’s so discouraging whenever one of our customers falls prey to schemes or becomes a victim of fraud. With incidences on the rise, the best way to fight back is by educating our customers on the best ways to protect themselves. Below are pieces of advice I share when spreading the word about online fraud protection and how to stay safe on social media.

Keep Information Confidential

One way to keep information confidential on social media is to choose a unique username and password. By using a different password for each social media site, it makes it harder for hackers to get into your online accounts. Remember that no legitimate company will ever ask for your online login information, whether it’s for your social media account or your bank account.

Be Cautious of Making Payments on Social Media

These days, it’s very common to make purchases via social media from sites like Facebook Marketplace, Etsy or Craigslist. Individuals and companies are selling their products — whether it’s something handmade or something they can’t use anymore, like electronics, furniture or clothing. It’s important to be cautious when making purchases through social networking platforms. Always do your due diligence to confirm the legitimacy of an online seller. Just because you saw an advertisement for a product, doesn’t mean that the product or service is legitimate or safe.

Sharing Personal Information

Fraudsters look for any opportunity they can get to steal your identity. Be selective of what kind of personal information you make public. The more private information you share, the easier it is for fraudsters to hack into your accounts or steal your identity. Make sure you lock down your privacy settings on social media to make sure strangers can’t see the personal information you do want to share with your family and friends. Also, make sure to be cautious about accepting friend requests. Did you get a friend request from someone with your aunt’s name, but you know you’re already connected to her on social media? Did someone you went to high school with reach out to you to ask you to send them money? If you feel uneasy about a friend request, reach out to that person outside of social media to see if the requests are really coming from that person.

With all of our transactions and interaction with people and businesses online that we just aren’t familiar with, the best practice is to be diligent in safeguarding your private information and be mindful of the financial risks involved when sharing your personal information online. By following just a few simple steps you can ensure you’re not the victim of fraud.

Ask your banker for more tips to ensure your accounts are secure and your money stays safe. Feel free to reach out to me directly via email at czike@citizens-banking.com or give me a ring, 317-584-5306!

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