7 Ways You Can Protect Your Bank Account From Fraudsters



Unfortunately, fraudsters have no bounds. They are everywhere, which is why keeping close tabs on your financial life is extremely important. You can never be more than careful when it comes to your money – your hard-earned income. What you live on is not something to be joked with. Here is a list of ways you can protect your account from fraudsters.

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1. Check your accounts daily:
It may seem kind of extreme, but it's not -- especially when it comes to fraud associated with a debit card and/or checking account. Monitoring your accounts on a daily basis will not only allow you to always have a good idea of what's going on with your money, but it will also help you spot any potential fraudulent activity immediately.

And if you do ever see something that looks suspicious, contact the bank immediately and find out what steps you need to take to repair the damage.

2. Choose a bank with good customer service

When you're working with a big bank, it can sometimes be tough to get the personal service and attention you may need or want.

Consider taking your business to a credit union or a local bank that has a good reputation. You'll typically find that you get a better and more personalized customer service experience, which can make handling your financial life a lot less stressful.

You also want to make sure you're banking with a company that you feel comfortable with, which is different for everyone. So do a little research into some local banks regarding their customer service and other things like how they respond to and handle any issues etc.

3. Never share your banking information with anyone
In order to protect your financial life, it is best you don't share any of your sensitive information via text, email, phone, social media or any other messaging app.If you call the bank directly, that's fine.

But if you ever receive a request to share your information, do not respond or provide any piece of information about yourself.

Thieves are looking to collect any bit of information on you that they can, so eventually they will be able to put the pieces together and gain access to your accounts. So never respond to any correspondence that did not originate from you.

Keep in mind that scammers have found ways to make emails, texts and other messages look exactly like the real ones you get from your bank or other company -- even using the exact logos and language you're used to seeing. So if you get a request or update that your information is needed for something, call the bank or whatever company that sent the request directly.

4. Use strong passwords & two-factor authentication

Any time you log in to any online account, your bank account or some other shopping site, criminals could be watching without you even realizing it. And any piece of information they can pick up about you could help give them access to what they're really after -- your money.

So it's important to text extra steps to protect your information online, and many sites now offer two-factor authentication to help make it more difficult for scammers to get in.

Two-factor authentication (sometimes called two-step authentication) requires you to take an extra step to authenticate who you are when you sign in or when you are doing a transaction. It's sometimes also referred to as two-step authentication.

The extra step just depends on the company or website, so it could be a unique code that's texted your cell phone or unique password you have to give when authorizing anything over the phone.

Whatever the extra step is, opt in for it. It's another layer off security for you and your money.

5. Don't access financial accounts from just anywhere

You should never log in to your bank account – or any other account that contains your bank or card information -- from an unsecured device or unprotected Wi-Fi network.

Ideally, you should have a separate computer at home that you use for your banking and other financial activities.

If you unknowingly click on an email attachment or link that contains a virus, that virus can scan everything in your computer and send it all back to criminals without you even realizing it! So having a separate computer that you don't use for email, Internet searches or anything else besides banking would help you avoid those types of scams.

Here are some other ways to protect yourself when doing online banking:

  • Never use public Wi-Fi that isn't password protected.

  • Even if a Wi-Fi network requires a password, it could still be accessed by criminals. So don't sign in to your accounts unless you can verify with the owner of the network that it's secure.

  • Once you've verified the security of a Wi-Fi source, pay attention to websites’ URLS when you're online. If you see “https” or a lock icon, that means the site you’re visiting is more secure and has an encrypted line of communication between your browser and the website.
6. Do not leave your cheque book lying around

Cheque books and deposit slips have your bank’s routing information and the account information. Anyone who is able to access your cheque book has instant access to this information. Avoid leaving your cheque book on your work desk. If you need to keep it with you at work, try to leave it under lock and key in a secure place, or keep it in your purse or pocket at all times.

7. Dispose of your bank statements, financial documents properly

Identity thieves are well known to go through the trash of unsuspecting people who do not properly dispose their bank statements. The bank statement has not only your account number, but also your mailing address, which are two very important pieces of the puzzle for identity theft.

With contributions from Clark.com, Financial Web.