According to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, around $42 billion was lost to economic crimes across the globe in the past 24 months; most of these frauds being cybercrime and customer frauds, among others. Banking frauds remain prevalent – even more so when it comes to internet banking, since it’s quite easy for fraudsters to gain access to your personal financial information and accounts if you’re not careful. As per data from the SABRIC’s (South African Banking Risk Information Centre) annual crime stats for 2019, internet banking fraud incidents have increased by 20% in the past year.
With online scams, data breaches, and identity frauds running rampant, understanding the risks you take while banking and knowing how to take protective measures is essential for you. It’s why banking execs cite cybersecurity as their number one priority.
In this post, we have compiled a list of five of the most general types of banking frauds, and easy strategies you can adopt to be safe from them.
- Beware of Phishing:
Phishing is probably the most common type of banking fraud; it’s when you’re contacted through phone, text messages or emails by fraudsters in the name of your bank and asked for your sensitive financial information, account number, banking/credit card details, passwords and suchlike. Phishing text messages and emails might prompt you to click on a provided link to give out your account information or verify/change your account somehow. Sometimes the texts might also contain links that allow hackers to install Malware (malicious software) on your computer/mobile device and access your confidential data.
You must be aware that banks don’t ever send emails or text messages asking you to verify your account or share your financial information, and neither would they ask you to give your details over the phone. So make sure to never share your private information (such as your social security number, account number, taxpayer ID, and your login ID and passwords) through SMS, emails or phone calls before confirming with your bank first. And should you ever need to share your confidential data with your bank online, check you’re doing so through the bank’s official protected website.
- Update Your Passwords, User IDs, and PINs Regularly:
Firstly, a legit bank would never ask for your net banking passwords and PINs, so always keep in mind that you must never share your passwords and PINs with anyone. Additionally, if there are any physical documents that contain any of your financial data, make sure you keep them safe at all times.
However, just keeping your user IDs, passwords and PINs secret is not enough, and it is advisable that you change them periodically. In fact, you should definitely change your online banking password at least every three months. To create a strong password, you should always use a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and special characters (@, #, $, %, * etc.).
- Keep Yourself Secure While Internet Banking:
With online banking, trades and transactions being the most convenient form of banking right now, it’s inevitable that you’d have to switch over to internet banking services too. However, this very factor makes the internet a popular space among hackers to run financial scams. You’ll find plenty of fraudulent websites ready to swindle you at the first opportunity they get. Therefore, you have to be responsible for your own safety while performing transactions or other banking activities online. Update your device frequently and make sure you have the latest version of your browser and operating system installed. Plus, implement the most up-to-date antivirus, firewall, and antispyware protection in your computer/mobile device to provide the maximum possible security to your private financial information, and any other sensitive data you might have stored on your device.
- Never Use Public WiFi Connections/Computers for Internet Banking:
While using a public WiFi connection or computer might not seem like a very risky endeavour, to begin with, you should be aware that none of them is secure enough to keep the confidential information you enter safely. Fraudsters can take advantage of the loose security of an open WiFi connection to hack your personal data. Additionally, your activities on a public computer can be easily monitored and recorded, and extracting information such as your internet banking user ID and password from an unprotected public computer would not be very strenuous either.
- Keep an Eye on Your Account at All Times:
Despite taking multiple security measures, 100% safety of your bank account or your financial information is never guaranteed. That’s why you must always keep track of your account and transaction history. In addition to that, you should also form a strategy so you can discover any banking frauds as soon as they happen. For instance, you can set up alerts on your account so you’d be swiftly notified if any breaches happen. Most banks provide alerting services through emails and text messages, so make sure you sign up for those. You can also enable notifications with your debit/credit card providing banks so you’d be notified of all transactions performed using the cards. This way, if your account/ personal data is ever at risk, you’d be made aware at once.
And there you have it, five strategies you can take up to give yourself the maximum possible protection against banking frauds! Visit the Salt blog for further financial insights!