We’re banking and shopping online more than ever. And we love it. But it also means we’re now more at risk of falling victim to Internet scammers. That’s why you should keep an eagle eye on your PayPal, Amazon, Google Checkout and other online payment accounts, so you can spot suspicious activity right away. Look online and you’ll find lots of advice on what to do after your payment account has been compromised. But what are the signs that your account has been cracked by cyber-criminals? Here are our top tips for keeping your money safe.
Watch for any unauthorized activity: Always know what transactions are expected. Even the smallest unauthorized transfer can be a danger sign. Don’t ignore notifications: If you get an email saying your account details have changed and you didn’t change them, your account may be compromised. Beware of bogus calls: If someone phones and claims to be from your payment provider, insist on calling them back on the company’s public phone number. Don’t trust the text: If you suddenly start getting messages or calls from a mobile number that your provider doesn’t normally use—be very suspicious. Check every email: If an email or other online communication doesn’t look genuine, don’t reply to it without checking with your provider. Look out for bogus links: If you see strange activity on your account, check to see if you’ve clicked any suspicious links in your email recently.
You should also make sure that you have a good Internet security program, with secure online banking functions. The most sophisticated cyber-criminals can also use an attack called a man-in-the-browser attack. In this kind of exploit, malware on your PC invisibly modifies legitimate web pages in order to take control of your online banking activity. The web address you’re looking at will be correct, and you will be logged in to your bank’s legitimate website, but cyber-criminals will be able to intercept the transaction, steal your financial details and, more importantly, your money. The only way to completely protect yourself against man-in-the-browser attacks and other sophisticated types of cybercrime is with an advanced Internet security suite.