How to Protect Yourself from Cyber Fraud
 

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Money How to Protect Yourself from Cyber Fraud

By Anna Bennett, Chief Information Technology Officer, Ambler Savings Bank
October 27, 2021

 

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. In this time of expanded use of online banking, mobile pay and debit/credit cards, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $3.3 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2020—that’s nearly double what was lost in 2019. I still see scams like writing fraudulent checks and trash can surfing, but they are not the majority. People are no longer just walking in and out of a branch to do their banking. Now a majority of transactions for personal and business happen online.

In many cases, fraud is preventable. Knowing what to look for is a great step to prevention. At Ambler Savings Bank, we’re committed to teaching ways to help you protect your account from phishing and cyber-attacks. We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam. One of the most rapidly growing scams is bank impostors.

For starters, remember these four words: Banks Never Ask That. 

Banks won’t call, text or email you to ask for personal identifiers like your account number, social security number or to perform actions like clicking on a link or opening an attachment. These are all red flags someone is trying to compromise your accounts.

Here are the top three phishing scams, full of red flags:

  • Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click on a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that.

If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust. You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. Also, be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

Our tips for avoiding bank fraud don’t stop there. Here are some other red flags to look out for.

  • Don’t fall for scare tactics. Scammers will make the situation seem urgent, so you don’t take time to think about your reaction. For example, we will never call and tell you we are closing your account if you don’t give us your account number. Banks won’t use scare tactics.
  • Watch out for any links asking you to login or remote into your computer. Banks won’t ask that.
  • Yes or no questions are usually safe to answer. If your account has been compromised, more and more banks are using digital tools to verify transactions. Raise the red flag when they start asking you for personal information.
  • Monitor your accounts. Stay alert to all activity with your mobile app and online banking.
  • Setup automatic notifications for all spending transactions on your accounts and credit cards. This helps avoid manual logins. If your account is compromised, you’ll know right away.
  • Use an encrypted internet connection and stay off public Wi-Fi. Better yet, look into getting a VPN, which will help to keep your information safe from hackers.
  • Be mindful about online activity. Whenever you download an app, store payment information on a company's website or share personal information online, you increase your risk of identity theft by sharing your info online.

Digital Tools That Can Help

Fortunately, there are now apps and services designed to guard against phishing and fraud. Below are two we offer at Ambler Savings Bank to help protect against fraud.

  • Card Valet for Account Monitoring - Free app that allows users to turn cards on or off in an instant and set alerts to help prevent fraud. For example, if you’re driving in your car and get an alert that your card has been used, but you know that’s not possible, it’s a good idea to check your account and turn off your card to make sure the purchase was legitimate.
  • Positive Pay for Business Check Monitoring - For businesses that do a lot of transactions with checks – consider Positive Pay. This automated check and ACH matching service helps prevent payment on fraudulent checks and ACHs before the money ever leaves your account.

Since cyber fraud isn’t going away anytime soon, educate yourself, check your accounts regularly and employ tools to protect you and your accounts. But most of all, remember: Banks Never Ask That.

For more information or questions contact us at customerservice@amblersav.com. Member FDIC.

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