Scam artists across the globe defraud millions of people a year by using clever schemes to steal personal information. This costs people and financial institutions greatly and weakens financial security. To combat this, you have to learn how to protect your information and know when and where to give out such information. Here are a few helpful tips that can help you lock down your information and prevent any potential exploitation.

Guard Your Financial Information Closely

        Why It’s Important: Scammers will try anything to get hold of your finances.
Scammers will go to great lengths to get ahold of your information and money. Never give out your credit or debit card information over the phone or email. Instead, make sure you call the number on the back of your card or statement. If you receive an unusual email from someone you don’t know, or from a friend, don’t click on any links provided. If you receive any unusual correspondence, make sure you reach out to your financial institution to clarify it.

Don’t Send Money to Someone You Don’t Know

        Why It’s Important: Do not pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment methods to people of unknown origin.
We all have heard of the infamous Nigerian Prince scouring the corners of the web trying to finance a return to his birthright. Scammers will use rather complex and flamboyant schemes to secure your funds. They might call you saying that they are a relative that is in great danger, or they might be an online love interest from Siberia asking for funds or favors. Whatever the case might be, once you wire money to someone, it’s gone. There is no getting it back. Scammers insist that you wire money to them because a wire transfer is almost impossible to reverse. If you do decide to send money to someone, make sure you use a payment option that provides protection. 

Be Careful With What You Share on Social Media

        Why It’s Important: Scammers can use your social media against you.
Review the privacy settings for your social media accounts and make sure that you're only sharing information that you are comfortable with. Also, consider only connecting with people that you already know. Social media is a great tool for scammers to use to gather information and build a profile against you. Using social media, scammers can gather enough information to sound like family members or friends in order to manipulate you. Also, remember to change your password regularly to keep any hackers from gaining access to your accounts.