Bank fraud happens to people every day. As a public notice, we want to inform you of ways to avoid becoming the next bank fraud victim. There are things you can do to make it less likely to happen to you.
Keep Your Contact Information Up to Date
It is important that banks and other financial related institutions can contact you immediately. They can contact you if they see any suspicious activity.
Do Not Repeat Passwords & Choose a Strong Password
Choose a different password for every account you have. Using the same password for everything makes every account vulnerable. Choose a strong password to avoid bank fraud.
Characteristics of Strong Passwords:
- Do not use consecutive numbers (123456)
- Avoid use of terms like "password" or "qwerty"
- Do not use common words like "house"
- Avoid using birthdates, phone numbers, or pet and family names
- Make it difficult for hackers to guess by stringing random words together "MagicgolfiNgturkeY"
- Use a combination of letters and numbers (as well as capitalized and uncapitalized letters)
Receive Bank Activity Alerts (To Your Phone or Email)
Protect Your Devices
Keep your phone, tablet and computer up to date with the latest browsers and operating systems. Use computer anti-virus software like McAfee. This helps protect you against vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Enable Biometrics & 2-Factor Authentication
When someone gains access to your personal information, they can pretend to be you online. Choose to enable a fingerprint or facial recognition sign-on. With 2-factor authentication, you’ll need your password and another proof of identity (like a one-time code sent to your phone in order to log in to an account).
Know The Red Flags
- Instructed to not trust your bank, or to respond to questions in untruthful ways
- Pressured to send money
- Threatened with law enforcement action
- Told to purchase gift cards and provide codes as a form of payment
- Asked to cash a check for a stranger or send money via wire transfer or Zelle®
- Told to deposit a check that overpays for something you're selling, then to send the difference elsewhere
Take Steps to Avoid Being Scammed
- Don’t respond: If you’re not 100% certain of the source of the call, email or text, then hang up the phone, don’t click on the link in the email and don’t reply to the text message.
- Don’t trust caller ID or answer phone calls from unknown numbers: If you recognize the caller ID but the call seems suspicious, hang up the phone. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed to appear from a legitimate caller.
- Don’t give out your information: Never provide any personally identifiable information unless you’re certain the person and reason are legitimate. Remember: your bank will never ask you to send them personal information (like an account number, Social Security number or Tax ID over text, email or online).
- Research and validate: If the individual or organization seems suspicious, make sure the request is legitimate by calling the organization through an official number from their website. Consult with a trusted family member or friend.
Know Which Third Parties Have Access to Your Account Info
Sharing your account information with third party apps and websites can potentially expose you to privacy and security risks and should be carefully considered. If you revoke access, the third party will no longer have ongoing access to your account information. However, they may still be able to retain the data you previously shared, so it is best to change your bank password.
Check Your Credit Report Annually
It’s good practice to check your credit report once a year to ensure everything is accurate. You can obtain your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Staying informed is a good way to avoid bank fraud.
If You Believe You Are a Victim of Bank Fraud
If you believe you are a victim of bank fraud, take the following steps.
- Report the fraud. Contact your bank to report the issue. Have your bank's contact information in your phone, so you can call them immediately. They can help you review your accounts for fraudulent transactions and direct you on further steps you can take.
- Watch your accounts. Check your accounts frequently for transactions you don’t recognize. If you see any, report them to your bank immediately.
- Change your passwords. Update the passwords on your online accounts and activate two-factor authentication to give your accounts an extra layer of protection.
It is important in today's world that we stay vigilant when it comes to protecting our security. This includes both personal and financial data. Another word of caution, please be aware of the security risks that come from sharing too much information on social media. We hope that by reading this, you never have to deal with bank fraud.