No matter where you bank, scammers are trying to take advantage of every opportunity to take our money. A recent wave of fraud is hitting small bank customers and credit union customers.
Stealing from a bank vault was an early stage of this crime but criminals nowadays are making a big business out of stealing digital money. Stealing from bank accounts or credit card records, which is more trouble for you, the consumer. This doesn’t mean that your banking institutions are not safe, they are, this just means that we should be diligent in keeping our money safe. Here are just a few tips to keep your money safe:
Protect your passwords – When using your debit card at any store or ATM, protect your password. Change your password regularly. Use different passwords for all accounts. The last thing you want to do is use the same password for everything you do whether online or not. Remember to get in the habit of logging off. If you’re banking online, log out of the session rather than just closing it. The same should go for telephone banking, end the session rather than just hanging up. Not doing this will leave you vulnerable to scams.
Keep separate accounts with different passwords – If you have a business account with a big line of credit, it makes sense to have a separate account, with a separate debit card/credit card and a different password than your personal account. If your account is all tied in one and it gets cleared out by this crime, you will have problems maintaining your financial life until it gets straightened out.
Check your banks policy for covering losses – Your bank should have a policy to cover losses due to fraud. They may also have security policies in place to protect you should you try to access your bank info from other sources such as online or through banks other than your own. Also, check to see if your branch has had problems in the past such as a dishonest employee which could mean that the bank is not diligent in their screening process.
Maintain your statements – Always review your bank statements. If you notice something wrong, contact your financial institution and record it. Reviewing your own statements and not relying on the bank to do it for you may save you a bigger hassle in the end.
Never give out your personal information to anyone you don’t know, especially online or over the phone. Banks will be more than helpful getting things back to normal but remembering the tips above will save you from finding out the hard way.