5 Ways To Protect Your Finances From Fraud

by Elle Martinez, Guest Blogger

Founder/ Podcaster, Simplify & Enjoy

12.9.2021
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Articles

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud

Fraud protection is never a happy subject to talk about, but sadly, it’s something we’re all becoming familiar with.

In 2020, 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports were received by the FTC

Even with traditional banking, fraud was an issue; scams of course. Now, most of us are moving to digital banking, these criminals are getting more sophisticated and we have to be on top of our finances.

Fraud Protection Tips

Here are some ways families can be better prepared and protect their sensitive information, especially when it comes to their finances:

1. Regularly Review Your Accounts

The first step is having an easy system for staying on top of your money.

With couples, I recommend having monthly money dates. These are opportunities to sit down, plan, and talk about what you want to do for the next month and look back at the last month.

However, we also do these really quick financial check-ups on Fridays. I log into our main accounts and make sure everything's gone through the bills for the week and scan the transactions.

That's actually how I caught an unauthorized transaction. I was reviewing our accounts and I saw that there was this charge for groceries on the other side of the country. I quickly reported to my credit card company to start my claim.

If you have several financial accounts, you may decide that having an app to consolidate reviewing your accounts is helpful. 

I have a few favorite money apps, but for the most part, as long as you can check your accounts regularly, you’ll have a solid foundation.

2. Set Up Transaction Alerts

Another way you can stay on top of your finances is by creating alerts for specific transactions. We’ll get into it more a bit later, but with Coastal’s CardNav app, you can set up transactions on your spending. If you have an unauthorized charge, you’ll be quickly alerted.

3. Create Strong Passwords

Easy to remember passwords sound like a good idea, but if done wrong, can leave you vulnerable. You want to create strong passwords that are harder to crack. Some general rules of thumbs to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use common passwords like your (or your kids’) birthdays, anniversaries, or names.
  • Mix in both upper and lower case characters along with at least one number and one special character.
  • minimum of eight characters in length is recommended.

It’s extra work on your part, but that also means it’s harder for the scammer or identity thief to figure it out too.

4. Don’t Reuse Passwords

It’s hard to keep all these passwords different. I get it. However, it’s necessary because when you reuse passwords, you’re giving criminals a potential way into more than one account.

How?

Websites get compromised. Even if it’s not your financial institution, you can still leave yourself vulnerable.

There'll be millions of logins and passwords, and then they'll go to every site they can find and try those credentials.

I know it's so hard to track all the passwords now because everything is online. Between work, personal, and our kids’ school accounts, it’s too many to juggle. 

My recommendation is a password manager. It’s easy to use while still helping you create secure passwords.

You can put like the rules that you want to have the upper, lowercase, symbols, numbers, special characters - all of that.

You can have these unique passwords because if they get access to one, they're going to try to get access to different accounts, once they have that information.

5. Use Multi-Factor and Or Biometric Logins

Another easy way to protect your accounts is by using biometric or multi-factor authentication. With so many of us having our phones near us, this can be a handy solution.

You can use the fingerprint scan for those sensitive accounts. You can also have it send a code through your phone to verify that it’s actually you. It’s another added layer of protection.

Use Coastal CardNav1 for Your Cards

Coastal has also been working hard to give you better security and options when it comes to your finances.

With Coastal Card Nav, you can track and manage your debit and credit cards. The Coastal CardNav app allows you to control your cards. You can turn them on. You can turn them off.  You can set limits on the geographic location of where your card can be used. You can even set the proximity so you can say don't let my card be used if it's not near my phone. 

You can also use it to manage your spending. Not only can you set limits on amounts, you can also restrict it on types of transactions.

For example, let’s say you’re saving up for a trip later this year and you’d like to cut back on non-essential expenses; you can ‘turn off’ the card for everything except your regular recurring expenses.

Your payments will go through, but nobody else can use your credit card for anything else until you turn it back on.

Added security, plus the ability to manage your money - a double win!

Download Coastal CardNav

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Fraud

If you unfortunately get hit with fraud, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage.

Depending on the situation, you may need to file a police report. I had to do that when my purse was stolen during a trip a few years back. Thankfully, I could either go to the station or fill it out online.

Your credit or debit card issuer will send you a new card. It may be a hassle to not have a card to use, but it’s necessary.

See Coastal's Fraud Prevention Tools

Coastal is Here to Help

One of the wonderful things about being a Coastal member is that you have a financial partner ready to watch your back.

Once you’ve contacted them, you have the added peace of mind as they work diligently to make you whole! 

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1. The CardNav app is free to download, data and other wireless carrier charges may apply.