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Are Social Media Users More Likely to Become Victims of Fraud?

| October 01, 2019
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Keeping up with friends and family and sharing pictures of the grandkids and your most recent travel destination online may seem pretty tame. But according to several recent studies, social media use may leave you more vulnerable to financial fraud. According to a Harris Poll survey, nearly two in three U.S. adults with personal social media profiles believe they’ve been hacked.A separate study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research reported that a 46% higher risk of account takeover and fraud is associated with active users of social media accounts versus those who are not active on social networks, due in large part to the following:2 

  • Seventy-five percent of consumers fail to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect their Wi-Fi connections
  • Eighty-seven percent of mobile users report engaging in high-risk activity via public Wi-Fi, such as accessing corporate email and conducting online banking via mobile phones and laptop devices

How can you help protect your finances and your identity online? Consider the following tips: 

  • Secure your home Wi-Fi network
  • Install anti-virus and anti-malware programs on all your devices and networks
  • Limit the use of unsecured networks when away from home or the office 
  • Use multiple passwords; avoid using the same passwords across devices and accounts
  • Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and characters for passwords
  • Do not open emails or links if they’re not from a trusted source and can’t be verified as such
  • Properly remove data from all devices before selling, donating, recycling, or discarding

If you believe you’re a victim of online fraud or cyber theft, don’t wait to act.

  • Contact your bank or financial institution immediately to report lost or stolen cards, or fraudulent accounts or charges 
  • Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit if you suspect fraudulent activity 
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently in your name 
  • Notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

Protecting your online security requires many of the same steps as protecting your physical security. Remaining vigilant, cautious, and informed can help safeguard your finances and your good name from would-be cyber criminals. If you have questions about ways to help protect your lifestyle in retirement, contact the office to schedule time to talk. 

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