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4 Tips to Reduce Banking Fraud

Thanks to online banking, monitoring your finances and making transactions is easier than ever before. Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a cost if you fall victim to bank fraud.

Bank fraud takes place when criminals use deceptive tactics to steal money from consumers’ financial accounts[1]—and this practice has been on the rise for years.[2] In 2021 alone, 2.8 million people filed a bank fraud report.[3] Luckily, you can protect yourself against fraud if you take the right precautions.

In this article, we’ll review four effective ways to protect against bank fraud.

#1 Strengthen Your Device’s Security

While online banking can make your life easier, you don’t want hackers to be able to say the same. You can secure your accounts from cybercriminals by:

  • Using strong passwords – While it’s tempting to use the same password for all of your online accounts, it’s a risky move. You never know when one of your passwords will get leaked during a data breach. You can create strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts and track them with ease using password management software.
  • Changing your password regularly – Next, you may want to update your financial accounts’ passwords every so often just for good measure.
  • Only using secure Wi-Fi networks – Cybercriminals can obtain your passwords and other personal information by infiltrating your device’s network connection. You can protect yourself from these types of attacks by installing a firewall, using a VPN encryption service, and only visiting secure websites (those that have HTTPS in their URL instead of HTTP).
  • Promptly updating your software – Outdated software and operating systems present more security vulnerabilities than those that are up to date. Thus, it’s important to update your device’s programs as soon as new versions are available.

In addition to these steps, you should also be careful when typing in your password into your banking app in public places. You never know when a fraudster may be lurking over your shoulder. You can avoid this risk altogether by using biometric authentication, such as Face ID or Touch ID, to unlock your financial accounts.

#2 Learn to Recognize Phishing Scams

Phishing is a common way hackers gain access to your financial information. During one of these schemes, a criminal poses as your financial institution. They may reach out via email, text, or over the phone.

Phishing emails or text messages often include links that secretly install viruses or malware onto your devices, giving hackers access to your data. You can protect yourself against phishing scams by:

  • Avoiding clicking on suspicious links
  • Installing anti-spam software so emails with phishing links go straight to your junk mail
  • Refusing to share personal financial information with anyone over the phone

It’s important to be aware that a reputable bank or credit union will never ask you to share sensitive information, such as your bank account number, debit card PIN, or account password, over the phone or email. Thus, any requests of this kind should be regarded with suspicion.

#3 Safeguard Your Checks

While many banking fraud schemes are carried out digitally, check fraud is a notable exception. This type of fraud takes place when criminals steal a signed check from your mailbox and alter its information so they can cash it and steal your money.

You can prevent this type of fraud by transferring money digitally instead of writing checks. You can also bring your checks directly to the post office instead of dropping them off in unsecured mailboxes.


#4 Act Fast if You Suspect Fraud

If you’ve fallen victim to bank fraud, you may be able to get your money back if you act fast. Here are some steps to take right away:

  • Contact your bank or credit union – Your financial institution may be able to reverse the fraudulent transaction if you report it within a certain timeframe. You can also request to freeze your accounts so the fraudster can’t incur additional charges.
  • Reset your passwords – If the banking fraud took place digitally, you’ll want to have your devices checked for malware or viruses. You should also reset your passwords right away.
  • File reports – You can report bank fraud to the police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While you’re at it, you may want to set a fraud alert on your credit reports with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This way, the fraudster’s credit activity won’t be reported under your name.

Safeguard Your Finances With The Best Credit Union New Jersey

As you can see, there are many proactive measures you can take to prevent banking fraud. It’s also helpful to bank with the right financial institution. Some offer better security features than others.

At North Jersey Federal Credit Union (NJFCU), our mobile app and online banking portal are safe and secure. They feature 128-bit SSL encryption and strong firewalls, preventing malicious intruders from accessing your information. After a certain number of inaccurate login attempts, we’ll automatically lock your accounts to keep them safe.

Want to learn more about the benefits of becoming an NJFCU member? Reach out to us today.


[1] Justia. Bank Fraud Law.


[2] The Motley Fool. Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Statistics.


[3] CNBC. Consumers lost $5.8 billion to fraud last year — up 70% over 2020.


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