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Identifying Red Flags on Digital Devices and What to Do Next

a woman banking online
Identifying Red Flags Fraud Blog
By: Bryan A. Watkinson and Veronica Hernandez,
AVP of Risk Operations and Loss Prevention Supervisor

September 26, 2022 

The red flags to look for when browsing online or using your phone are sometimes obvious but can also be not-so-obvious for some users.

With shopping integrations, Apple and Google Pay, and payment services like Stripe, online shopping has become more secure than ever before. Unfortunately, there are always bad actors that pose a fraud risk when making online purchases or even just using the internet.

When a product’s price or a service looks too good to be true, it normally is. Costs are unfortunately rising, causing more and more people to be on the lookout for good deals. This has opened more opportunities for fraudsters to take advantage of deal seekers. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Confirm you are on the correct website - When you use a search engine sometimes the first few results are ads designed to look like an official website when, in fact, they are not. This is most common during high-volume sale holidays when unsuspecting customers are shopping for items they may not normally purchase.
  • Be cautious with your information - This is often a given, but with awareness comes new tactics for seducing personal details or payment information from users. Knowing what types of ways your payment providers would use to get in touch with you is important to protecting yourself. If your credit card provider normally calls you to confirm a suspicious charge, be aware of what information they might confirm over the phone. If, at any time, you feel uncertain, hang up or exit and go directly to the source. Call the service number listed on your card or visit the card’s website and navigate to the help area.
  • Only download files to your computer from reputable sources - It’s been a long time since the days of LimeWire viruses ruining our desktop PCs. Today, malware is more discreet than ever before with the ability to slip in and see your files, browsing history and other private information that can ultimately lead to identity fraud.

We can all do our best to limit opening ourselves up to fraud by avoiding red flags and setting up dual authentication, but we cannot control the security of the businesses and institutions we interact with. So, what do you do when you think your information has been compromised?

  • Monitor your credit report for unauthorized, new credit - There are many options for credit monitoring that are free or low cost. 
  • Request a PIN number1 for your tax return - This will prevent anyone from trying to receive your refund, avoiding extensive complications and possible tax fraud.
  • Reach out to Affinity - Our members have resources to comprehensive fraud resolution providers that will help you get back on track and give you peace of mind through the process.

Protecting yourself and your family members does not need to be stressful and can help ensure financial wellbeing. Falling victim to fraud is never something to be embarrassed about and is best resolved quickly. Call the Affinity Member Solution Hub at 800.325.0808 24 hours, 7 days a week for support if you have any questions about resolving fraud.

This information is for informational purposes only and 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.

  1. Retrieved from:,electronic%20or%20paper%20tax%20return.