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4 ways to keep your hard-earned cash safe

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Don't let yourself become a victim of fraud or theft. Here are 4 easy ways to keep your money safer.

You might think it'll never happen to you, but losing money to a financial scam is more common than you might think. Australians lost a record $851 million to scams in 2020, according to the ACCC.

You work hard for your money, and it wouldn't be any fun at all if you lost some of it to a scam, fraud or theft. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ensure your money is protected.

Here are 4 easy ways you can keep your money safer.

1. Use a mobile banking app with card-blocking features

We all know that sinking feeling in your chest when you realise you've misplaced your debit or credit card. You don't like the idea of it being in someone else's hands, but you also don't like the idea of cancelling the card all together then having it turn up a day later somewhere obvious.

To solve this, some banks offer the ability to temporarily block your card. For example, Bendigo Bank allows you to instantly block your card via its mobile banking app - to temporarily restrict all purchases from the account. This level of card control for registered e-banking users can provide much-needed peace of mind that the card can't be used until you (hopefully!) find it again. And when you do, you can just as easily unblock the card in the app.

The Bendigo Bank app also allows you to block certain types of transactions, instead of blocking the whole card. For example, you might choose to block all overseas transactions while you're home in Australia, or you might want to block all online transactions until you need to make an online purchase yourself.

2. Use a mobile banking app with biometric features

How hard would it be for someone to gain access to your mobile banking app if they got their hands on your phone? Do you simply have a PIN that they might guess (perhaps a few people even know your PIN), or maybe you have no lock at all?

Check if your mobile banking app has the option for a fingerprint or face scan as a way to log in, instead of a PIN. This just gives you an added layer of security in case your phone is stolen and someone is able to unlock it to access your apps.

If you use your phone for contactless purchases using Apple Pay or Google Pay, you may also be able to add a biometric security feature for transactions to be made this way. This prevents other people from using your phone to make contactless purchases.

3. Never give your banking details via email

Your bank will never email you asking you to send them your bank account details, or asking you to send them money. If you get an email like this, delete it and report it to your bank.

Similarly, you should never click on any links claiming to be sent from your bank asking you to verify your bank account details or deposit cash. If you're not sure if something is a scam or not, the safest thing to do is contact your bank and check.

Remember: even if the email looks legitimate, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Your bank isn't going to laugh at you for checking!

4. Don't fall for investments that seem too good to be true

Everyone wants to make a good return on their money. But if an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Be careful of investing any of your hard-earned cash into an investment that promises high returns with no risks. The general idea behind investing is that with more reward often comes more risk. So if an investment is boasting really high returns, you need to ask yourself what the risk is.

You should also be incredibly cautious about any investment opportunities you're sent via social media or an online forum, as well as investments that are exclusive or only have limited capacity. These are often marketing tactics used by scammers to create a sense of urgency and FOMO, to motivate you to invest.

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