Anyone who has been the victim of bank fraud knows full well how problematic and frustrating it can be. But do you know how to protect yourself from bank fraud? While the term relates to a number of different scams, in general, ‘bank fraud’ refers to an individual or entity using illegal means to gain access to someone else’s money, assets or property. Unfortunately, with the wealth of technology combined with the creativity of criminals and opportunistic periods such as Covid-19 — bank fraud is a clear and present danger for modern consumers.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to know how to protect yourself from bank fraud, and that’s exactly what we’re to help you with. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at bank fraud, the various ways in which it is achieved, and of course, how to protect yourself from bank fraud.
Bank Fraud Explained
Among their many crucial duties, one of the most vital responsibilities that banks or other financial institutions have is to protect the money and assets of their customers. And in order to achieve this objective, all financial institutions must address a vital issue facing the financial sector, bank fraud.
Bank fraud is defined as unethical/criminal acts by an individual or organisation used to get money from a bank or financial institution illegally. However, there are several ways to commit bank fraud, which makes it all the more important to be aware of the methods, so you know how to protect yourself from bank fraud.
As we said, there are different types of bank fraud, and it all depends on what the fraudsters are targeting and the methods they use. These methods can include:
Debit/credit card fraud: This is when someone uses your debit or credit card to pay for goods or services in a store or online without your knowledge or authorisation.
Electronic fraud: When your money is transferred or withdrawn by an external party without your knowledge or authorisation.This is a common tactic for duping people into providing sensitive information such as bank details, personal information, etc., to gain access to their accounts.
Identity theft: When someone uses or adopts your identity to open new bank accounts, apply for cards, or purchase other financial products or services.
How Do I Know if I’ve Been a Victim of Fraud? (And How to Deal with It)
When you hear “bank fraud”, it may lead you to think that it consists of complex systems and faceless villains. But the most common forms of bank fraud are achieved through simple means by opportunistic individuals. For example, you may well have fallen victim to bank fraud if:
- You have misplaced a debit or credit card and are yet to report it missing. By failing to do so, your card is out there somewhere, and it’s active. Meaning people can use it for contactless payments or purchasing online if they choose to.
- You have noticed charges or transactions on your account that you cannot explain or simply have no knowledge of whatsoever.
- One of your cards has hit its spending limit, or you have entered your overdraft but have done so without you being responsible for it.
So, using the above scenarios as examples, how do you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of such instances?
- If you lose a debit or credit card, report it to your bank right away and ensure it is cancelled (don’t worry, you’ll get a new one). Doing so prevents anyone else from using your card and running up unauthorised charges.
- Always keep a close eye on your paper and online statements to ensure no suspect or unauthorised activity has occurred. Undoubtedly, many people have fallen victim to bank fraud and have not realised for a while simply because they didn’t check their statements.
- If you do suspect or confirm that you have been a victim of bank fraud. Contact your bank right away and request a refund.
How to Protect Yourself from Bank Fraud
The key to minimalising your risk of becoming a victim of bank fraud is to take precautions, several of them. While many of the following precautions may just sound like common sense, it’s quite often the simple little things that make consumers vulnerable to scams or other criminal activities. So, if you want to know how to protect yourself from bank fraud, always keep the following in mind:
- Destroy any letters containing personal information – this means your name, address or financial details (all classed as ‘sensitive information’).
- Do not share your bank details with any third parties, including login details to online banking — this is a common scam when individuals pretend to be from your bank.
- If you receive a phone call claiming to be your bank and make you suspicious for any reason — such as asking for personal details — hang up and call your bank.
- Keep a close eye on bank statements and if you notice any suspicious transactions, report it right away.
- If you move house, always ensure your mail is redirected! (You can do this via the Royal Mail).
- When logging into your online banking, only ever do so by visiting the website directly, never via links included in emails. Again, a common tactic for scammers is to insert fake links to third-party pages in emails pretending to be from your bank.
- If you can avoid it, do not access internet banking while connected to public wi-fi. However, it’s a good idea to install a VPN for added protection if you do so.
- It may sound super obvious, but always ensure your password is as strong as possible — including a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols will help in this regard.
Do you want to find out more about the best practices for ensuring your business’s card payments and finances, in general, are as safe as possible? Get in touch today to discuss your needs with our team and find out how we can help!