Scams have been around for the longest time, and the people behind them get more and more creative as time goes on and technology develops. Now that everyone’s doing more digital transactions and relying on online banking more than ever before, more and more people are becoming victims of scams. So how can you avoid being scammed online and protect yourself from bank-related scams?
Be wary of any irregular messages
You need to always be vigilant and watch out for the warning signs. If you receive an email or text message or even a phone call that:
- asks for your personal information (username, password, card number, PIN, etc);
- is unexpectedly or not usually received;
- has a generic greeting;
- has misspellings or bad grammar or links you to another website
…then you should be skeptical. When your gut tells you that something’s off, it’s probably best to not answer these messages or calls. Just be wary in general.
Don’t give out personal information
This is something you’ve probably heard in calls or read from messages from banks again and again, but it’s actually one of the best pieces of advice there is. If someone asks for your personal information, you should already be suspicious. You’re being phished, which is basically a case where a message or call from what seems to be your bank seems like the real thing and asks for personal information like PIN, credit card number, and password all for fraudulent purposes. To avoid this, make sure to heed the warning of banks to not give any personal information out because, as banks repeatedly say, no bank representative would ask for such personal information.
Check URLs and email addresses
Scammers are getting more savvy, and their emails and messages are getting harder and harder to differentiate from the real thing. Sometimes, they’d even set up a website to look like the real deal. This is called spoofing, or a case where a website appears to be legitimate but is actually made for fraud.
To avoid becoming a victim of these well-crafted emails, make sure to triple check the email address from which it came from and see if it’s the same as the official email address of your bank. Don’t click any suspicious links in the email, and if you accidentally open one, make sure to double-check the URL of the website you opened. Bank websites are often secured by Transport Layer Security (TLS). You can check this as well by looking for the lock symbol in your address bar.
Install anti-virus software
Scammers and hackers usually get access to your account by installing malware into your device, so make sure to have anti-virus software installed in all your personal devices. This way, even if you accidentally click a suspicious link or adware popups, the software can track and remove them quickly before scammers can get your data.
Don’t use a public network
Free WiFi is awesome, but don’t be too trusting. These free WiFi in malls, airports, and other public spaces are networks that could be easily manipulated by hackers and scammers. So you shouldn’t conduct banking transactions using these kinds of networks. The same goes for shared or public computers, such as those in computer shops. If you really have to, make sure to clear the browser cache after each session to ensure all your information is removed.
Change your password regularly
Your password is one of the most important safeguards of your online banking account, so make sure to choose a password that won’t be easily guessed — like your birth date. And even if you think your password is already strong enough, make sure to change it regularly. A change every other month is usually good enough. But when you change your password, do not reuse old ones. And definitely don’t use the same one on several different accounts.
Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication
To step up the security, make sure to activate two-factor authentication so you can reduce your risk of exposure to hacks and scams. This often comes in the form of a code sent to your phone that you’d have to input after your password. This would allow banks to verify your identity twice: once through your password and another through something you have, like your cell phone. Sometimes, another layer of security added to multi-factor authentication is biometrics, like fingerprint or face scan, which a lot of devices now use.
This also means that you should not save your payment details like credit card information on any platform. Most websites now offer a ‘Save for Later Purchases’ option after you buy something, but even if you do frequent that online shopping website, don’t save your information there if you can. Some hackers and scammers might be able to get into your device and grab that information right under your nose. Some platforms, like Grab, require you to input your details for cashless transactions, but as much as possible, avoid this.
Check your account and transaction history details regularly
This may sound tedious, but track your expenses regularly and countercheck it with online banking transaction details, as well as your monthly statement of account. All transactions would appear in your transaction history, so if there’s an unauthorized transaction, you’d see it and you can report it right away.
Take note as well of your last login details, and see if that was really you. Did you really log in at 3 in the morning or was that a hacker? It’s best to be sure so you can prevent any unauthorized access.
What other tips do you know to avoid getting scammed? Share it with us below.