National Financial Awareness Day is just around the corner, reminding you to pursue financial independence, be more aware of your spending, and manage your investments wisely. Now, you might be asking the most important question of National Financial Awareness Day: how to protect my bank account. First, you need to know how scammers can access your bank account, how to protect your bank account from scammers, how to recover your bank account after a scam, and how to avoid online scams. If you want to learn how to protect your savings and your future, keep reading!
How Can Scammers Access Your Bank Account?
While the internet allows you to work, shop, study and manage your finances online, you might encounter various online scams that can take away everything you’ve worked hard for. For instance, you could be a victim of identity theft, where scammers collect your personal and financial information and use it to gain access to your bank account. Once you make the mistake of handing them the information they needed, they’ll drain as much of your money as they can.
Most online scams take advantage of your emotions and weaknesses — offering huge prizes in exchange for an up-front fee, advertising tempting work-from-home opportunities that are non-existent, or acting as a genuine online partner but is actually a romance scammer. So, apart from suffering financial losses, you might also experience mental or emotional distress, especially if someone threatens to blackmail you if you don’t give in to what they want.
How To Protect Your Bank Account From Scammers
Follow the steps below to help protect your bank account from scammers.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Through two-factor authentication, you have an extra layer of defense against online scams. Aside from entering your password, you need to provide another piece of information to verify your identity. So, even if scammers figure out your password, they’ll find it hard to log in to your account unless they know the verification code too.
Use Strong Passwords
This step might sound simple, but many end up using passwords that they can easily remember and even the same passwords for all accounts. Instead of making yourself vulnerable to scammers, create strong and unique passwords. To help you safely store your different passwords for each account, consider using a password manager.
Purchase From Secure Sites Only
Given the prevalence of online shopping scams, make sure to buy from safe and secure websites only. Check whether the online store is legitimate and is not just an imitation. Also, use your credit card instead of your debit card, as the former keeps you more protected.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi to read the news or perform basic research may not cause you harm. But if you use it to open your online bank account, you might find yourself in trouble. Hackers can easily gain access to your login details and steal your money. So, only log in to your account using safer networks.
How To Recover Your Bank Account After a Scam
If you have been a victim of a scam, recover your bank account with the help of the following:
- Report the scam immediately to your bank or financial institution. Whether there were fraudulent charges, an unauthorized withdrawal, or you made a wire transfer through your bank, you have to act fast and ask the bank to reverse the charges or transfer. The bank usually advises you with the best course of action, so tell them exactly what happened with your account.
- Send a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They can help you potentially get your money from scam artists, like how they recovered over $230 million from fraudulent business transactions.
- Reset your passwords and change your security questions. Make sure they’re hard to guess and change them regularly to protect your bank account further.
- Use alerts and monitoring on your bank accounts. This way, you will receive notifications when others try to access your account or when transactions exceed a predetermined amount.
How To Avoid Online Scams
- Do not accept offers that are too unrealistic, like free vacation packages, lottery prizes, or high-paying jobs requiring minimal effort.
- Use updated antivirus software to keep your device and sensitive information secure.
- Beware of the information you share on your social media accounts. Scammers can combine such details to commit fraud.
- Avoid clicking suspicious links unless you’ve verified the actual destination address and seen that it’s secure.
- Never type or dictate your financial and personal information, especially with unexpected calls, emails, or messages.
- Do not get swayed to act fast. Remember that real organizations will not force you to decide right away. If they become too pushy or threaten you, then you must be talking to a scammer.
Protect Your Bank Account With Social Catfish
While you continue to seek financial independence, scammers keep finding ways to get money without breaking a sweat. So, if you’re wondering how to spend National Financial Awareness Day: How To Protect My Bank Account, follow the tips we have provided above. If you suspect someone’s trying to get you scammed, catch them by doing a reverse search at Social Catfish!