Investment scams appeared on the internet almost as soon as investment opportunities did. These scams range from traditional pump-and-dump schemes to cryptocurrency frauds, persisting without signs of abating. While the internet offers convenience for communication and investigation of investment sources, it also attracts thieves and scam artists seeking victims.
Fraudsters create websites to deceive investors with “inside” or “secret” information about a company’s results or new products. Illegal promoters exploit investment newsletters to hype specific stocks, disguising their intentions as honest and unbiased advice. Scammers promise early access to the next big thing in tech, capitalizing on new technology platforms with promising returns in legitimate stock markets. It’s time to answer how to keep money safe from scams.
How To Protect Online Investment Accounts
#1 Use Two-Step Verification
Your investment firm may offer (or require) a two-step verification process to access your account. This process enhances security by adding a second factor to your username and password/passphrase sequence. Whenever you try to log into your account from an unrecognized computer, your investment firm will send a unique code to either your email or mobile device. Before you can access your account, you need to enter this code along with your password.
#2 Use Strong Passwords
Repeating age-old advice, always select robust passwords that are hard to guess, regularly change them, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Create a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Alternatively, choose three random words and string them together, modifying some characters along the way.
#3 Always Connect To Websites Via VPN
When you connect to websites, especially financial ones, you need to use a VPN. This is necessary to protect your account and online investment protection. The VPN also offers an additional feature – the ability to change location on Android. This is useful if you want to target markets in other countries or use applications that are not available in your country. Now the question is how to change VPN location on Android, including in the Play Market. Follow the link for detailed instructions. In short, you need to install VeePN, activate your subscription, and connect to a suitable remote server.
#4 Activate Key Notifications
To safeguard your online investment account and proactively detect fraud, activate account alerts. Depending on your account’s functionality, these alerts will notify you through email or text message whenever specific activities occur. Examples of these activities include:
- Logging into your account
- Unsuccessful login attempts
- Changing your password
- Modifying personal information such as address, email, or phone number
- Making securities transactions (buying or selling investments)
- Transferring funds or securities in or out of your account
- Adding or removing external financial accounts for money or securities transfers (e.g., bank or investment accounts)
#5 Add Biometric Safeguards
Your brokerage firm or investment adviser might provide biometric safeguards for your online investment accounts, specifically for access using mobile devices. Access to your investment accounts may involve the use of fingerprint, facial, or voice recognition, as well as iris scanning, instead of or alongside a password/passphrase. Reach out to your investment firm to inquire about the availability of these safeguards for your accounts.
#6 Maintain Anonymity
Sharing your entire life online has become incredibly effortless with social media and blogging sites, granting us a platform to disclose information in ways previously unimaginable. However, exercising caution when revealing personal details is crucial. Scammers can effortlessly exploit this information to construct fraudulent identities, single you out, or gain access to your accounts. Therefore, it is vital to exercise mindfulness before sharing. To maintain anonymity, it is worth installing a VPN extension. For Mozilla, you can install the extension here, but VeePN has extensions for other browsers as well. Additionally, ensure that your privacy settings are well-secured so that only individuals you trust can view your posts.
#7 Be Aware Of ‘Clone’
Fraudsters commonly employ a scam known as a ‘clone firm’ wherein they impersonate well-known and reputable brands. They may create a website that mimics that of an authorized firm, making slight adjustments such as modifying the listed phone number. This tactic creates the illusion of legitimacy and can deceive victims into believing the fraudster’s false identity.
#8 Don’t Download Or Click On Links Mindlessly
Avoid clicking or downloading anything that lacks your trust. Mail scams are prevalent and often resemble genuine correspondence. Refrain from clicking on links or attachments unless you feel confident in their legitimacy. If in doubt, verify the sender’s credibility by finding their contact details online, rather than relying on the information provided in the email. Maintain a skeptical approach towards all forms of communication, especially unsolicited emails, even if they appear authentic.
#9 Turn Off Automatic Wi-Fi Settings
Ensure that your mobile device’s Wi-Fi settings do not automatically connect it to any available Wi-Fi connection. This precaution will safeguard you from security risks in public spaces.
#10 Keep Tabs On Your Credit Report
Regularly check your credit score to ensure that no unauthorized credit applications are made in your name. This is crucial, especially if you are concerned about scammers accessing your personal information. Similarly, monitor your bank statements closely to detect any suspicious transactions. Online banking apps are increasingly functional, making these tasks easier than ever before.
The above are technical aspects that will help protect your online investments. There are also a number of vulnerabilities associated with social engineering and simple deception that are not so easy to mitigate from a technical point of view. Here you need to develop the skills to recognize scammers and set clear boundaries for yourself that you will not cross under any circumstances.