12 tips to outsmart financial spies

Identity thieves are getting more sophisticated; but smart consumers can still outwit them and keep their money safe

People are scared of identity theft, and for good reason. If a bad guy gets his hands on your credit card information or Social Security number, he can set up accounts in your name, launder thousands of dollars and ruin your credit. It can take years – and countless amounts of time and energy – to clean up the mess.

A survey of 1,000 adults by MasterCard released in July found that 77 percent of Americans feel anxious about having their financial information stolen, which is a greater percentage than those who fear their home being robbed (59 percent). Still, many respondents reported engaging in behavior that increases their risks of being a victim of identity theft or fraud, including rarely changing passwords for online financial accounts (46 percent) or using the same password for multiple accounts (44 percent). 

“The average person should be very concerned,” says Charlie Price​, managing director in MorganFranklin Consulting’s corporate investigations and dispute solutions practice and a former FBI agent. “Every time you click on a link, you’re essentially opening up your front door to let a con man in,” he says.

The risks that come with identity theft can be even higher than losing the money that’s in your bank account. ​”Attackers aren’t going for the $5,000 or $20,000 you have in savings. They’re going for something far more valuable: your identity,” says Chris Hadnagy​, CEO of Social-Engineer, a consulting company that helps organizations protect themselves, and an expert on financial fraud. The attacker can then use your identity to create credit accounts and steal far more money than you have in your bank account.

continue reading »

More News