June 5, 2020

  Tech Forums

Avoid Cybercriminals


You almost certainly use the Internet to access your financial accounts and statements associated with those accounts. That makes you vulnerable to cybercrime.

Avoid Cybercriminals

My friend and co-founder of the Money Club in Chiangmai, Thailand, has written this excellent guide to how you can foil potential cybercriminals:

1.Security starts with your financial institution. Although it’s inconvenient, your financial institution should have installed multiple layers of security or steps (passwords, personal questions only you can answer, etc.) before even you can access your accounts — plus have advanced encryption software and firewalls installed.

Moreover, there should be a secure way once you are logged on to your account to send messages to and receive messages from your financial institution.

2.Know your rights and obligations. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what are your rights (such as insurance against fraud) and obligations in the jurisdiction in which your financial institution is based, should there be unauthorized access to, or transactions using, your financial account.

3.Ensure your technology devices are secure. Be sure to have the most up-to-date browser, anti-virus and spyware software installed on all of your technology devices, and that you have the firewalls enabled.

If you have more than one device, designate one that rarely (if ever) leaves your home, to log-on to financial accounts or the email address associated with your accounts.

4.Have a super-secure email for financial accounts. Don’t use the same address you use for personal correspondence, social media, or regularly provide to online sources, as the email you give to your financial institutions. Moreover, never log on to that email address from an unsecure device on a wi-fi hotspot without a password.

5.Use different user names, passwords or PINs. Don’t use the same user names or PINs for email, social media or any type of non-important online account, for your financial accounts.

6.Keep your account info in a safe place. Ideally, you should memorize all your account numbers, user names and passwords. Realistically, you should write this information down and store it in a safe place. And remember, it’s not just

cybercriminals from whom you need to protect this information — ordinary criminals, housekeepers, even friends or family members, could misuse it.

7.Download and store financial statements in a safe place. Should your account be compromised or locked for suspicious activity, especially if you are an expat in a foreign country, getting the matter resolved will not be easy. However, having the latest financial statements downloaded and stored in a safe place will help you to verify your identity with your financial institution and regain access to your accounts as quickly as possible.

8.Beware of wi-fi hotspots. Cybercriminals have been known to set up phony hotspots for unwary tourists or travelling expats in airports, hotels or elsewhere. You should never log on to any unfamiliar or insecure wi-fi network and then log on to personal email or financial accounts.

9.Beware of phishing schemes. Criminal schemes targeting expats can range from the ubiquitous emails your spam folders usually collect, to phone calls or text messages. So before you give out any personal information in response to an email, phone call or SMS, be sure to confirm it’s actually from your financial institution.

Remember, most legitimate financial institutions will not contact you in this way. Even if you do receive an email that appears to be from your financial institution (like one notifying you that your online statement is now available), don’t click on any link in it, as it might install malware on your device or take you to a phishing website.

10.Be careful with social media. No matter how tempting it is to rant on-line or on social media about a financial institution, you probably have enough information on your social media accounts to make it easy for cybercriminals, or even someone you know, to try and access your accounts. Moreover, there are a number of background check services that could reveal enough missing information about you to enable a savvy cybercriminal or someone you know to access your financial accounts.

Don Freeman, based in Thailand, is president of Freeman Capital Management, a registered investment advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). He provides personal financial planning and wealth management advice to expatriates, specializing in UK and US pension transfers

source:  OnTarget 2014 by Martin Spring