Unfortunately, online banking fraud occurs every day. Criminals use technology and deception to get access to online bank accounts, but there’s plenty you can do to protect yourself.
If you avoid certain actions, you’ll significantly decrease your risk of online banking fraud.
- Don’t give out your passwords, Social Security number, PIN, bank account numbers or other personal information by phone or by e-mail. Fraudsters often impersonate legitimate companies to try to get this information.
- Don’t respond to phone calls that urge you to “reactivate” your debit or credit card or to “verify” your account. Call your bank first to verify that these actions are necessary.
- Don’t shop or do banking business online with free, unsecured Wi-Fi. If you send sensitive personal information over an unsecured network, other people could see or intercept it.
- Don’t wire money to strangers. If it turns out that it was a scam, a wire transfer is the same as cash, and you probably won’t be able to get it back.
Monitor Your Accounts
Don’t throw your bank and credit card statements away. They’re a great way to keep an eye on your accounts. If you see a charge or charges you didn’t make, follow up immediately with your bank.
Consider getting these statements online, so they can’t be stolen. You’ll get them more quickly, so you can spot suspicious transactions sooner.
You can also set up account alerts that let you know about potentially fraudulent transactions. Once you’ve set up these alerts, you’ll get a text or e-mail when an ATM withdrawal exceeds your limit, or when a purchase is charged to your credit card account when your card is not present.
Shop More Securely
You can reduce your risk of fraud by knowing who you’re doing business with. When you shop online, deal only with businesses you know or those that were recommended by a friend. Online reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings can be helpful, too.
You can also foil fraudsters by setting unique, difficult-to-guess passwords and changing them often. When you set or update your password, choose something strong. For a strong password:
- Use a combination of capital letters, lower-case letters and numbers.
- Use special characters (such as # or @) if the site allows them.
- Avoid easy combinations of numbers or letters like your birthday or your child’s name.