6 Ways To Avoid Becoming A Victim of Bank Fraud

December 6, 2022 | Blog

Bank fraud is on the rise. Not only have bank fraud attempts increased, but the successes have, too. And as attempts escalate, it becomes even more important to learn how to avoid becoming a victim of online bank fraud.


According to statistics, reported by the Banking Journal, online banking fraud accounted for about one-third of all U.S. bank fraud costs in 2021 — which was up from 26% the previous year. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission reports consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to bank fraud in 2021, which was a 70% increase compared to 2020.


To make the online bank fraud landscape even more treacherous, fraud comes in a variety of forms, ranging from new account fraud to account takeovers to fund transfers, according to Finance Monthly. 


But, there are ways to prevent online bank fraud from happening to you. 


Make sure you know who you’re talking to. Banks don’t generally send out texts or emails asking for personal or account information from their customers. So, if you receive that type of communication, ignore it. And, never provide your social security number or banking account numbers to anyone who reaches out in that manner. It never hurts to contact your bank by phone to confirm if they sent the communication you received. 


Beware of links. Phishing scams work by convincing recipients, through text or email, to click on a link that is often disguised as an attempt to verify an account. Don’t do it. Those links likely contain malicious malware, and when clicked, it is released onto the device you’re using at the time. Once the malware is released, it can be used to obtain your personal information. 


Be wary of overpayment ploys. Refund and overpayment scams are common enough that they’re on the Federal Trade Commission’s radar. These types of scams attempt to convince a recipient that they’ve received an overpayment by mistake or that another company or organization will offer the recipient a refund — for a fee. Regardless of the story they tell, they’re telling it to gain the recipient’s trust and ultimately gain access to their financial accounts. No matter how compelling the story is, don’t hand over your banking credentials. 


Keep your computer up to date. Computers that are past their prime present security vulnerabilities for their users. When programs and operating systems are so old that they’re no longer supported, it means users are at a higher risk for attack. By keeping software, operating systems and entire devices updated, users vastly improve their security posture — particularly against threats posed by hackers.


Shop on reputable websites. Online shopping can be a way in for those looking to commit online bank fraud. Before making a purchase by clicking through an Instagram or Facebook ad, search to make sure the shop you’re supporting is reputable by perusing reviews — at the very least. Experts suggest that online shoppers also look to see if the website begins with an “https” and if a padlock symbol is present on the checkout page. Both of those offer credibility to a site and ensure an encrypted connection. 


Use strong passwords. This can never be said too many times. Hackers trying to commit online bank fraud are actually increasingly sophisticated criminals, and weak passwords are easy targets. Never discuss answers to security questions on your social networking pages — such as birthdays and maiden names — because those conversations are fairly easy for hackers to harvest. If strong passwords, with symbols and numbers, are too difficult to remember, store them in a secure location. 


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