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7 Ways to Prevent Fraud and Safeguard Your Finances

7 Ways to Prevent Fraud and Safeguard Your Finances Blog Image
Identifying Red Flags Fraud Blog
By: Bryan Watkinson and Veronica Hernandez
AVP of Risk Operations and Loss Prevention Supervisor

August 29, 2023

Today's world is full of conveniences, with everything from shopping to banking being a click away. But every coin has two sides. While we relish the ease of our digitally connected world, we must also recognize and guard against threats that lurk around every corner—online, on the phone, and even at our front doors. Incidents of fraud take a toll on a person’s financial and mental wellbeing. In 2022 alone, the Federal Trade Commission found Americans lost $8.8 billion dollars to bad actors. Here are some strategies to protect yourself across all these fronts.

  1. Exercise digital vigilance: The online space, vast and convenient, can sometimes be akin to the Wild West. Beyond just double-checking URLs and ensuring secure connections (always look for "https://"), make it a habit to change and strengthen your passwords frequently. Employing a reputable password manager can help organize and fortify your digital keys.
  1. Phone call caution: Unexpected phone calls, especially those pressuring for immediate action or personal information, should always be approached with skepticism. Note the caller's details, hang up, and call them back to ensure they’re calling from the organization they claim to represent. Remember, genuine businesses rarely make unsolicited requests for sensitive information.
  1. Use diligence at your doorstep: When someone knocks on your door, claiming affiliation with a business, always ask for identification. It's a smart practice to have a peephole or a security camera. This allows you to verify identities without compromising your safety. If someone's offer or representation seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  1. Consistently check on financial activities: Setting aside time to review your accounts not only keeps your finances in check but also ensures you catch any anomalies. Given the advancements in fraud techniques, ensuring no unauthorized transactions have taken place is more crucial than ever. Keep an eye on your checking, savings, and investment accounts to be sure there are no improper charges.
  1. Emails can be a double-edged sword: While emails have made communication seamless, they've also become a popular tool for fraudsters. Beyond being wary of unfamiliar senders, it's equally vital to be skeptical of unexpected attachments or links, even from known contacts. Don’t click on any links or attachments that don’t appear to be legitimate.
  1. Maintaining your credit's health: Your credit score is more than just a number; it reflects your financial health. Through Affinity's partnership with FICO 2, and with the invaluable insights from Experian and TransUnion, it’s easier for you to keep a pulse on your credit status. Regularly reviewing these reports can preemptively identify and address any suspicious activities.
  1. Continuous learning is key: The world of cybersecurity and fraud prevention is always evolving. By regularly educating yourself, you strengthen your first line of defense: knowledge.

Safeguarding against fraud is a continuous journey, one that demands both awareness and action. If you suspect any fraudulent activity, irrespective of the medium, take immediate action. Our dedicated member services line at 800-325-0808 is always available, ensuring you're never alone in navigating these concerns. You can also visit resources like Affinity’s Security Center 3 to sort out your plan of action.

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.

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