Cybercrime is on the increase, and we are all at risk. It is easy to assume that cyber criminals target the wealthy or the elderly, but statistics show that the most common targets are those on lower incomes and individuals who spend more time online. In other words, today’s American students are right at the top of the risk profile.
The effects of cybercrime are not restricted to financial loss, as serious as it is. Even if the fraudulent transactions are relatively minor, the consequences can have repercussions that run on for years, with an impact on your credit score that can affect your ability to get a loan or mortgage when you have completed your studies. Here are five tips relating to cybercrime that every student needs to know:
1) Heed the warnings
If you get a warning that your information has been breached, take it seriously. Research shows that one in five people who receive such warnings become fraud victims, compared to one in 20 of those who do not. This doesn’t mean clicking on links in emails; if you receive something suspicious, call your bank and ask if it’s a real threat.
2) Watch your accounts
The most popular way for fraudsters to get your details is by changing your address or adding another registered user to your account. Keep an eye on your account settings and look out for anything unusual.
3) Lack of money doesn’t mean you’re safe
Lower-income victims are actually hit harder than the wealthy. The average fraud victim is hit for $345. Among those on lower incomes, the average amount is $895. This actually means that students face a higher risk factor than wealthy workers.
4) Fraudsters love Facebook
With more than three quarters of Americans on social media, it should come as no surprise that these platforms provide rich pickings for criminals, too. Think about what information you share on your social media account. Where you grew up? The name of your pet? Your favorite high school teacher? Great, now anyone can answer your security questions for online banking.
5) Guard your bank account
Speaking of online banking, this is the most common type of non-card fraud. Watch your account closely and check the individual transactions. Fraudsters commonly go for multiple small amounts rather than one big hit, gradually bleeding their victims over time.
Vigilance is key
Online fraud is big business, but it is relatively easy to protect yourself by using common sense and vigilance. The greatest mistake is to think it won’t happen to you – it is exactly that attitude that the fraudsters depend on to make you a victim.
This article was contributed by Sally Writes.