How fraud happens: Understanding the risks in the digital age

Knowing how to avoid online fraud can help you safeguard your personal and financial information

Understand how to avoid it

Be alert

Fraud comes at us from many different directions. Fraudsters still use traditional methods, such as social engineering and physical theft, but technology has opened new avenues for them to swipe your information. They may use some of the following methods to compromise your data, accounts or devices:

  • Email compromise/hacking
  • Wire and ACH fraud
  • Online banking fraud
  • Remote access

Understand the potential risks

A fraudster can collect and use your personal information without your knowledge to:

  • Open a bank account or apply for credit using your name, date of birth and other personal identification numbers
  • Initiate money movement transfers from accounts
  • Hold your information or other sensitive data for ransom
  • Enroll in wireless service or other utilities in your name
  • Forge existing or print counterfeit checks or debit cards
  • File a fake tax return and steal your refund

General fraud prevention tips

  • Be mindful of the information you share with others, even in the normal course of doing business
  • Do not use personally identifying information as your username or password
  • Create strong and complex passwords on all devices and online accounts, never share them, change them frequently, and consider using a password management tool
  • Remain vigilant for suspicious activity online and in your physical surroundings
  • Carry only what you need. The less personal information you have with you, the better off you will be if your purse or wallet is stolen
  • Keep financial documents and records in a secure place, and destroy sensitive documents you no longer need

Learn more: Protecting Against & Recovering from Identity Theft

Return to the J.P. Morgan Private Bank Security Center, here