10 banking fraud myths busted
“This could never happen to me” is the wrong mindset to have when it comes to banking fraud. Learn how to keep your accounts and personal information safer with the information in this blog post.
- I’m too tech-savvy to fall for a fake email scam
- Email is one thing, but I’ll never fall for a fake phone call
- Debit cards and credit cards provide the same level of security if they’re stolen
- Online and mobile banking aren’t safe
- Cashless payments aren’t as safe as card payments
- I’m fine using the same password for everything
- Hackers only want to target accounts with money in them
- My PIN is the safest way to use my debit card
- I’ll know right away if someone else uses my debit or credit card
- Sharing personal info on silly social media posts is harmless
The fake Nigerian prince scam is a cute, antiquated relic of the early days of phishing scams. These days, scammers prefer to make their emails look like they’re from actual companies, and it’s not that difficult to fall for them.
It’s easy to spoof an email address that looks like it was officially sent by Amazon or PayPal. Make sure to always check the full email address to see if it’s legit. You can do this by making sure it’s spelled correctly and is in the style of the brand (an email from PayPal wouldn’t have a hyphen in the brand’s name like Pay-pal or Ama-zon).
Also, never click on the URLs contained within these emails. If you’re on a desktop computer, you can hover over the links with your mouse cursor, and your browser will display the full URL in the bottom-left of your screen so you can verify better.
You might be more likely to fall for a fake phone call (also known as vishing) because humans are wired to trust actual voices more than emails, texts and other digital communications. A fake phone call can take many forms, including someone claiming to be from the IRS or a collections company trying to recover money from back taxes or an old loan.
These companies will always send mail if they need something from you. If you receive a call asking you for money or personal information, hang up. You can Google the company that called you and find an official phone number or email address if you need more clarification.
You’d think that your personal liability for a stolen debit or credit card would be the same, but it’s not. Credit cards are covered under the Truth in Lending Act, and your liability for unauthorized charges is only limited to $50.
On the other hand, debit cards are covered under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which gives consumers less protection. If you immediately report your debit card as stolen, you will likely not be on the hook for anything. If you wait up to two days to report your card as stolen, you could be on the hook for $50. That amount goes up to $500 if you wait three days. If you wait up to 60 days, you’ll likely not be protected at all and have to eat all of the fraudulent charges.
At Arsenal Credit Union, we take multiple steps to make sure your online and mobile accounts stay safe. We use encryption software that keeps your personal information safe when it travels to the server. We also have multi-factor authentication (sending texts and emails with unique codes) to make sure it is you who is trying to access your account.
In fact, having online and mobile banking is safer in the long run because you can actively monitor your accounts to see if there are any fraudulent transactions. There are a few things you can personally do to keep your online and mobile accounts safer listed below.
- Never login to your accounts using a public Wi-Fi network.
- Always logout of your accounts when finished.
- When using mobile banking, set up a biometric (fingerprint) login that is unique only to you.
- Never share your username or password with anyone.
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As we’ve noted in a previous blog post, there are three big security perks for using mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay® and Google Pay®.
- It eliminates the need to carry around cash or credit cards, which always has the risk of being stolen or lost.
- Mobile-payment apps use extra security measures to protect user data, such as encrypting all personal information and utilizing biometric authentication features like fingerprint scans and facial recognition.
- Each transaction on a mobile payment app is tokenized. This involves a one-time code generated by the payment terminal, or a “token.” The token is used to complete the transaction in place of the buyer’s actual payment information. The token cannot be used for any other transaction and is effectively useless if hacked. The buyer is thus protected from fraud.
Software exists that lets hackers guess password combinations millions of times before they’re able to successfully break into an account. You can have an elaborate, secure password, but it’s still at risk of being guessed by a sophisticated bot.
Your best way to stay safe is to change your passwords often. You’ll also want to use a different password for each login account you have. When possible, enable multi-factor authentication.
The money in your account is only one of the things that scammers and hackers want from you. If someone gets your online banking information, they can login to your account and wreak havoc in a number of ways.
- They can request money from your friends and family using a peer-to-peer payment app.
- They can open loans, credit cards and lines of credit on your account, then transfer the funds out before you notice what happened.
To be safe, make sure you always keep your username and password to yourself. Arsenal Credit Union representatives will never reach out to you to get this information.
Like we mentioned above, most credit card companies won’t hold you liable for fraudulent purchases using your credit card. If you use your debit card and run it as “credit” or “signature” when you make a transaction, you’ll receive more security than if you enter your PIN.
Many card processors have zero-liability policies in place when you run your debit card as credit and treat your debit card just like a regular credit card when you make a credit transaction. If an unauthorized charge is made, it will refund all of your money back.
Unless you check your online and mobile banking accounts once every hour or so, you won’t know if your card has been compromised. You can, however, set up alerts for unauthorized use with our free CardKey app. With this powerful app, you can:
- Set up alerts for certain purchases (at certain retail locations and at certain times of the day).
- Lock your cards if you believe they’re stolen.
- Report fraud when you think it’s happened.
- Set travel notifications
- And much more
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You may have the tightest security settings in the world for your social media accounts, but everything you share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., is free information to the public. Things like quizzes or games might seem innocuous, but they can be a goldmine for people trying to steal your information.
Information like your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, your pet’s name and your favorite color can all be used to guess your passwords and access your accounts. For more information about staying safe on social media, check out this article from the Federal Trade Commission.