How Do You Protect Yourself from Bank and Card Fraud

A financial expert shares tips on how people can make sure their finances are safe and secure from bank fraudsters’ tricks. By Lean Santos

While banks already have existing systems that try to stop fraud from happening, customers can also do their part to protect their money

People nowadays have a firm belief that putting their money in the bank is a much better alternative than putting it under one’s pillow or inside an old wooden box for safekeeping. This is fairly true because putting your hard-earned buck in bank accounts doesn’t only make your money grow (through interest) over time, but it can also make it convenient for you to manage your finances given the availability of bank cards as well as mobile and internet banking.

But even in the seemingly secure world of modern banking and financial technology, fraud is still rampant. This has resulted in people losing their money or having their banking identity stolen. Financial security in this day and age can mean two things: having enough money for the future and making sure that the money you have in the bank—and the various ways you transact using it—are safe.

Some of the instances that breach banking security on a personal level include bank and card fraud—particularly ATM and credit cards. Jomar Joseph Cioco, a Credit Risk Analyst at Banco De Oro, said financial security in the literal sense should be everybody’s priority and responsibility.

“Banks already have existing technologies and systems that try to stop fraud from happening,” he said. “But the customers also need to [do] their part in order to protect their information.”

Be aware of the different fraud schemes, such as card skimming where fraudsters use a skimming device (usually similar looking to an actual ATM card slot or credit card terminal) to get the card owner’s information. Another is phishing, where fraudsters ask for information through a dummy homepage identical to bank’s websites and other internet platforms.

So how can you make your bank accounts safe and ensure that you won’t fall victim to fraudsters’ tricks? Financial expert Cioco shares these tips:

1. Keep your contact information updated.

“Banks have systems that detect possible fraud. Should banks detect fraud, they immediately inform the customer by either calls, text, or email that they have performed such transactions,” for instance, withdrawal of money or the use of credit card, Cioco said.

He added that an updated contact information is crucial in making sure that your bank accounts and other information and credentials are secure and safe.

2. Maintain at least two bank accounts

These bank accounts can be two ATM cards — one for savings and one for expenses solely used for withdrawal of money.

“I personally practice this. I have two ATM [accounts] enrolled in online banking. [One] account contains my savings while the other account only has the minimum maintaining balance. Whenever I need money, I just transfer the amount I need to the [account] assigned for withdrawal only. With this, you don’t have to worry about your ATM card getting skimmed,” he said.

This minimizes the risk of money loss in case you fall victim to bank and card fraud given that the account most likely to be scammed doesn’t have the lion’s share of your money.

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3. Always keep your eyes on your card and check the ATM.

“When swiping credit cards, ask the waiter to have the terminal brought to your table, or accompany the waiter to the terminal,” he said.

For ATM transactions, “check the ATM for unusual objects” like moving keypad, skimming devices, or mechanisms that stop the release of money every time you withdraw.

4. Make use and optimize mobile banking and other online facilities.

“Regularly check your balances using online [tools] either on your cellphone or computers. You can also enroll in SMS features that notify you of every transaction you make,” Cioco said.

5. Beware of online “phishing”

When doing online banking—and in any other online activity you’ll do—follow this rule of thumb: if the information part seems fishy, it most probably is.

There has been a lot of instances where people have fallen victim to “phishing,” where an online tool/website are able to steal people’s personal/banking information. Some of the tools include spam or dummy emails pretending to be official ones from banks and other establishments, or dummy or suspicious websites (whether you were routed to it or not) asking you to log in your personal information or asking you to update your info. Always check for warning signs like buttons that reroute you to other external websites or forms that are not part of the usual process of your bank. Lastly, always confirm with your bank by calling them or going to the nearest branch.

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6. Don’t tell anyone your card and personal details. No one.

No one means not even your friends and relatives, said Cioco. “Keep your account information, including [your] PIN only to yourself,” the financial expert concluded. “Don’t entertain any help or assistance from anyone when using the ATM. Should your card get captured, call your bank immediately.”

Financial security—both in the literal and figurative sense—is a must in this day and age of technological sophistication and rising commodity prices. Making sure that your money is safe can be less of a hassle when you exercise vigilance and follow the steps in this list.

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