In 2018, there is almost no one who hasn’t been personally affected by financial fraud. If you are one of the lucky ones, there is a good chance that you know someone who has.
Undoubtedly one of the most significant crimes of this era, financial fraud is causing havoc around the world thanks to high-tech fraudsters who are intent on causing harm to unsuspecting bank accounts.
Unfortunately, that is the world we inhabit — a world in which people’s hard-earned cash is continuously targeted and under threat by fraudsters.
While this may be disheartening (and it indeed is), there are significant steps you can take to ensure that you are reducing the chances of it happening to you.
After all, with just a few simple changes to the way you utilize online banking, you can potentially protect yourself against bank fraud.
Here is what you need to do.
1. Be smart when using ATM:
Too many of us are too trusting when it comes to using ATM, both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, ATM is an easy target for fraudsters.
It should go without saying, but never share your ATM PIN with anyone, no matter how close they are to you.
When you do use an ATM, be observant of your surroundings both when walking up to and when actually using the ATM. Get into the routine of always covering your hand and pin pad as you type in your PIN on the ATM.
It can be hard to notice if there is something suspicious going on with the ATM (which is why fraudsters can be so successful). However, a good strategy is to sway the card reader (the part in which you insert your card) to make sure there are no other objects connected to it. Have a look to see if there are any hidden cameras or false keypads on the pin pad.
When it comes to noticing something suspicious, trust your gut. If something looks crooked, loose or damaged, there is a good chance it has been tampered with, and you should find another.
2. Constantly monitor your accounts:
No matter how many precautions you take, you still should be regularly checking your accounts to ensure nothing suspicious is posted.
While regularly checking your account balance and transaction history, if you do encounter anything suspicious, immediately report it to your bank. Only by knowing what “normal” for your account is, will you be able to spot a scam or a fraud scheme.
3. Be smart with your cards:
Having a credit and debit card can make life a lot easier — until it gets stolen.
Even if your bank doesn’t necessitate it, whenever you plan to use your card abroad, you must let the bank know your travel dates and destination. That way, they can also be on the lookout for international fraud attempts.
Make sure that you have your bank’s emergency hotline/customer service number written down in a safe place, so you can locate it quickly in case your card does, unfortunately, get stolen while abroad (or while at home).
If this happens and you do receive a new card, it is essential that you destroy the old one. Don’t forget to cut across the magnetic strip and dispose of the chip.
4. Get into the routine of updating your passwords and Pins:
If you are one of the many people who have the same password for multiple accounts and other login details, now is the time to change that.
Even if you think you are in the clear, get into the habit of refreshing your passwords at least twice a year.
Never use the obvious choices (for example, your spouse’s name or your birthday), as these are the first things fraudsters will attempt to use.
In addition to updating your passwords and PINs, frequently update your contact information with the bank (such as mobile number, e-mail, address, etc.) as this will make it a lot easier for the bank to contact you should any suspicious transactions arise.
5. Be smart with online transactions:
Shopping online is another convenient luxury that we are all accustomed to; however, it is one of the easiest ways for scam artists to make a profit.
Only ever shop online with credible merchants. You can assure they are by looking for secure transaction symbols such as the much-used “lock” icon on your browser. Don’t ever use public hotspots for online payments.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for a credit check:
No matter how much you work to prevent fraudsters from accessing your details and your accounts, you can never guarantee that it isn’t going to happen. Your best line of defense, of course, is to sign up with a bank that delivers a robust suite of excellent banking services designed to make your banking experience safe, efficient and even profitable for you.
In this case, your bank can really help you by doing a thorough credit check. This will show you which accounts have been opened or closed based on your identifying information, and then you can check them against your own records.
It is recommended that you ask for a credit check at least once a year, and whenever you speculate that monkey business has happened. If you don’t, you may find yourself in a position wherein you aren’t able to apply for a business loan.
These five steps are sure ways to remain diligent and on top of your online bank accounts. Have you ever experienced bank fraud? What steps are you taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again? Let us know in the comments below!