5 Steps to Protect your Finances from Fraud

Having to work so hard to keep your finances in check and setting a financial standards for yourself, only to one day realize you have lost everything to a fraudster who in most cases is a total stranger. Everyone will literally forbid this kind of situation for themselves, still we have an increasing numbers of victims of financial frauds on a daily basis. So, this is the point where we pay attention to the chances of losing our finances as much as we focus on acquiring them.

Our finances are more exposed to frauds in recent times giving that most of our financial activities are  digital and carried out online.Hence why we need to be very intentional about safeguarding our finances and protecting it from fraud. The steps you need to take to become the guardian angel of your finances from the hands of these fraudsters (popularly known as 419 in Nigeria) are very simple and when followed meticulously, you can be assured of the safety of your funds. That said, below are five (5) steps you can take to protect your finances from fraud below:

1. Do not share your personal information aimlessly

Fraudsters can pretend to be from your bank or another financial institution. They mostly call or send an email claiming they need to verify something, or that your account has some problems and they need your personal information to fix it. Do not share your personal details like BVN (bank verification number) , account number ,credit card details, bank pin, etc over the phone especially if you didn’t initiate the complaint.Other information like your name, home and office address, date of birth, national identification number (nin) and so on should also not be shared with people or businesses you  are not familiar with . These information are a great tool to the fraudsters in targeting your finances or even in attempting to steal your identity.

If you are sharing your personal information online for any reason please ensure the website is secured  before doing so. You can look out for a padlock icon on the left side of your web browser, if it’s present, then the site is secured and safe to use.

2. Don't be Intrigued by ridiculous offers

Offers like deposit N20,000 and get N100,000 in one week and the likes are nothing but a fraudulent approach, just that in this case , you are personally invited to come and squander your money. Making money is not easy so if someone claims you can earn money with little or no work or make a lot of money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam, don’t fall for it. There are also cases of purchasing offers that seems too good to be true. For example, if a typical item cost like N150,000 and someone is offering to sell for N50,000, this is a valid reason to be extremely careful.Therefore, ensure you get full details of an offer you are interested in where it looks too good to be true or not.  A legitimate business will give you all the relevant details of an offer and state every terms and conditions. Be aware.

3. Protect your Passwords

Whether it is bank pin, ATM card pin, phone passwords and passwords to access other financial accounts of yours,it is safe to use unique and complex passwords . Avoid setting passwords that are quite simple and easy and can be easily guessed by someone else,  that is why most websites suggest you set a strong password that are lengthy and consist of both upper and lower case, numbers and symbols. Also, to protect your financial accounts , you can change your passwords regularly and keep them stored securely by writing them down and keeping it out of reach or using a password management tool.

Another way to protect your accounts is to set up two-factor authentication to provide an additional protection to the set password .It makes it more complex for someone else to have access to your account.


4)Pay extra attention to your transactions

Another way to protect your finances against fraud is to review your bank statements and credit card transactions from time to time to look out for any fraudulent activities. We now have access to our bank statements and details online which makes it easy to view your statements at any point in time  while minimizing the risk of fraud. In cases where you don’t recognize a transaction on your account, it’s important to report it to your bank and ask for your credit card to be blocked.

Also, enable notifications like the transaction alerts on all your financial accounts, to keep you notified of any transactions immediately. This makes it a good step to protecting your account


5. Learn about Different Fraudulent Tactics

Educating yourself about the different types of fraud and scams can help you avoid becoming a victim. Sometimes , fraud can come in an unexpected way which makes it quite hard to realize on time but when  you already understand the severity of fraud  and know some of easily recognizable features of a fraudulent activity, it can help you stay alert and make better decisions. You can subscribe to the newsletter of your bank where they inform you from time to time what and what not to do, read news on financial frauds and crimes, learn from past victims etc. Immerse yourself in every details of different fraudulent tactics, this keeps you one step ahead and let you know what you have to do in case there’s a fraudulent attempt on your finances.

In the end, you know what they say about prevention is better than cure? It is also applicable to your finances. As much as we want a cure to end these fraudulent activities, we should be fully involved in protecting ourselves first. Learn and do all you can to protect your finances, follow the necessary steps duly and don’t risk losing your hard earned money to total strangers.

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