Every year, fraud is on the rise. While that fact doesn’t seem to change, the methods that criminals use to commit fraud to evolve with technology. The popularity of payment and mobile apps has given them many new ways to try to steal your money.
In 2021, fraud attempts increased by 41%, according to a survey from NICE Actimize. The biggest increase, however, involved peer-to-peer payments, which saw a 38% rise in attempted fraud transactions and a 63% increase in the dollar amounts involved with those attempts.
On top of that, account takeover fraud in which a criminal takes ownership of an online account using stolen login information accounts for 61% of fraud committed through mobile apps. Fraud in which a credit card or debit card was not present accounts for nearly 47% of fraud across all channels, according to the survey.
Those figures only prove how important it is to stay vigilant and know how to protect yourself and your mobile devices so you don’t become a victim of fraud.
It’s critical to exercise caution on any app in which you make or receive payments. There are many things you can do to protect yourself, but if you let your guard down, you can easily become a victim.
How to Protect Yourself
Mobile devices provide convenience and have become something many of us rely upon daily. Cybercriminals have also seized upon this convenience as a way to commit fraud. Consider the following tips to protect your devices.
- Watch for phishing attacks. Cybercriminals will try to steal your personal information to gain access to your accounts through phishing emails and text messages. Be suspicious of any communication requesting that you provide personal information, especially if the communication attempts to induce panic or threaten you into making a hasty decision.
- Avoid links and attachments. Clicking on links and attachments in phishing emails and text messages may cause you to unknowingly download malware on your device, which could give cybercriminals access to your device and accounts. If you receive an email and are unsure if it is legitimate, contact the company the message claims to be representing to verify its authenticity.
- Keep personal information private. Never share personal or account information with someone online or over the phone.
- Keep your mobile device updated. The operating systems on mobile devices are updated regularly to provide new features and keep your device secure. Cybercriminals will target devices using old operating systems that aren’t as well protected.
- Be cautious using payment apps. Before you send a payment to anyone through a payment app like Venmo or PayPal, confirm you have their correct account information.
- Watch your accounts. Please review your accounts through mobile or online banking frequently for transactions you don’t recognize. If you see any, report them to your bank immediately.
- Change your passwords. Update the passwords on your online banking accounts and activate two-factor authentication to give your accounts an extra layer of protection when applicable.
- Check your credit report. It’s good practice to check your credit report once a year to make sure everything is accurate. You can obtain your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
If you believe you are a victim of fraud, contact your bank to report the issue. They can help you review your accounts for fraudulent transactions and provide instructions on further steps to take.