Stay Secure from Banking Scams

Banking scams have been around for a long time, but with increasing regularity we still hear of new scams daily. Despite there being an increased awareness of banking scams among some people, there are still thousands of people who fall victim to scams they could have avoided. Many scammers are certainly more savvy these days but thankfully avoiding scams still relies on basic common sense and a healthy pinch of skepticism.

Validate requests to transfer money
If you ever receive an unfamiliar phone call, text message or email asking you to transfer money, then beware. Verify you're sending to a trusted recipient by calling the number on your bank card, a recent bill or receipt, or by visiting an official website.

First of all, banks just won't call you or message you to transfer funds. So if a bank purports to call you asking you to transfer funds, simply put the phone down. If you think you're being rude, just remember that the person calling you wanted to scam you! If you really want to double-check, then find an official number to call; do not simply call back the number which just called you on your phone.

One popular scam is where the caller pretends to be from your bank's customer services. They'll say something to the effect that they're trying to keep your money safe from a potential threat, and that you need to transfer it to a new "safe" account they've set up for you. Of course, you're meant to think they're doing you a favour, but in reality, if you do transfer your funds, you'll never see the money again.

Keep your codes and passwords private
Unsolicited requests for passwords or other pertinent information are almost always scams and no legitimate organization will ever contact you asking for these. You can safely ignore any such requests. And, truthfully, if it did so happen that you're dealing with an organization who operates in that manner, then find a new one to deal with, as they obviously do not understand security. Plus, you shouldn't ever put complete faith in caller ID - it's often not who it says it is. And, of course, if it is a scam, then it's definitely not going to be who it says it is!

So, don't give out passwords or even user-names to anyone, no matter who they claim to be. A legitimate, competent organization just won't ever make such a request.

Beware of so-called technology "fixes"
Another popular scam is when the scammer, under the guise of being from some legitimate organization, pretends to be doing you a favour by offering a software "fix", or "security update", or something similar. Or maybe they even insist that you get the "update", otherwise your account will be frozen, or something along those lines. Rest assured this will be another scam. Be very wary of unknown requests to download software apps or updates, or messages claiming to "fix" issues. Anything you download in this way can give scammers access to your personal information.

So, whether it's a phone call, or an email, or some other type of messaging (and some other type of messaging would make it even more unlikely that it's legitimate), ignore it. If you're in any way concerned that you're ignoring a legitimate request, then do not respond to the message/call you received, but find the official telephone number for the organization and contact them that way.

[spacer height="20px"]With email scams in particular, it's often possible to find similar scams online, by copying some of the message text, or the email address, into a search engine. You'll often find other people having having experience with the identical scam using the same email address and other details.

So, stay aware, and don't transfer funds to anyone, or any organization, no matter who they say there are, unless you're 100% certain that the transaction is legitimate. "Probably" is not good enough.