Adding Fraud Risk As A Pillar To Personal Finance Education
Balancing a check book, budgeting, and saving for the future isn't always the most sexy or glamorous thing to do. It requires intentionality, organization, and discipline. The rewards, however, are simple and straightforward. You have more money and less risk in your life. You can also do better things with the funds you have.
In the personal finance space I don't often hear a lot about education surrounding fraud. It could be that those engaged in organized financial living protect themselves as a result of their lifestyle. If I am not desperate for work, I will not be entranced into a job scam. If I am monitoring my account regular, I can dispute and stop fraudulent charges timely. Even those on a cash budget unknowingly protect themselves through less exposure points (though if your envelopes are stolen you have no recourse).
Even if this is the case, I still believe that education surrounding fraud is needed. It provides more information to the budgeter on how to better protect their wealth. Providing these people with the information on how to protect themselves could also have a ripple effect in which they are better at protecting others.
Not a lot of information is needed to provide security over the risks. Most measures have a common sense component to them. Here are just some line items that could be taught through financial education related to fraud:
1) Don't use unsecure logins for online banking
2) Don't provide bank account information to those not on the account
3) Utilize electronic statements and limit payments sent through mail
4) Maintain anti-virus protection
5) Avoid clicking email and text links, especially when they purport to be from a company
6) Understand scams risks or opportunities that are "too good to be true"
7) Ensure your identity is protected through credit monitoring, etc.
8) Secure or shred all sensitive financial and personal documents
These are just a few things that can be taught, and each can be expanded upon. Financial Institutions and other companies who invest in educating their customers on fraud risk should expect less 3rd party and scam attacks. Financial education programs also need to use the same education as a pillar to what they are teaching. Your budget or retirement planning doesn't matter if a thief takes it all.