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When it comes to everyday financial fraud, I’ll channel my best Sy Sperling and tell you I’m not just an investigator, I’m also a victim. From the dark web to snail mail there are innumerable ways criminals can steal your identity, snag your credit/debit card number or bilk your bank account. There are some simple things you can do to protect your money. At first glance it appears complicated, but it’s actually really simple. This is by no means foolproof and may not be for everyone.


  • Organize your personal banking into four accounts each with a designated purpose and access points.

  • Use a credit card or cash and not a debit card for everyday transactions. Using a credit card comes with several advantages:

  1. If your card number is compromised YOU are not immediately out the cash while things get sorted out as you would be on your debit card.

  2. You can earn cash back and points. Choose a card tailored to your needs! There are numerous credit apps like Credit Karma that can help you find the best card.

  3. Most cards have an option to activate pop-up notifications on your smartphone so you know every single time your card is used.

This comes with one giant caveat! Make sure you stay on top of your credit card purchases! Treat it exactly like a debit card and pay it the same day as the purchase. It takes two minutes and you can do it on the app.


  • SIGN UP FOR USPS “INFORMED DELIVERY”: Even if you conduct all your business digitally you need to hear this. In a nutshell, Informed Delivery sends you an image of the mail that is going to be delivered to your house on a certain day. If a criminal signs up or gains access to your informed delivery account they can do some damage.

Example: Someone has your information and orders a new debit card. The criminal can use Informed Delivery to see when your card is arriving and grab it from your mailbox. They then look for the pin which arrives in a separate envelope...the blank one…I think the secrets out...and they grab that.


Many banks have changed the way they conduct business as far as PIN numbers, but still something to keep in mind. Make sure you sign up for informed delivery for your address if for no other reason than to make sure nobody else has done it for you.


The aforementioned tips are just some basic suggestions. Identity and financial fraud are huge “industries” these days and protecting yourself is critical.

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