The Secret to Safer Deposits

Every time you turn on the TV, it seems, there’s another report of a large company being hacked.

Unfortunately, what used to be a fairly unusual crime has become much more commonplace. When Target’s systems were breached last year, the personal data of up to 110 million customers was exposed. That’s more than a third of the U.S. population.

It’s easy to worry that you might be the next victim of cybercrime, but there are several ways you can proactively secure your information. Your financial institution, for example, offers many services that can lower your company’s risk.

Better Safeguards

Stronger controls In recent years, many institutions have introduced multi-factor authentication, or two-step authentication. When a customer uses a password to log into an account (step one) the bank sends a text message or an email to his or her smartphone with a second, randomly generated password that must be entered (step two).

Your institution might also offer dual control for certain situations, such as ACH payments or wire transfers. For a particular transaction to be processed, two different people in an organization—each with their own passwords—must log in and give their approval.

Closer monitoring Several banks now offer fraud-monitoring services that watch your online transactions and card use. If there is unusual activity, the financial institution will call you and verify the transaction.

Online resources There’s a good chance your bank offers other anti-fraud services through its website, such as educational articles with anti-fraud strategies or free anti-virus software.

Hanging Up on Fraud

As a rule, financial institutions are very protective of customer information, but that won’t stop criminals from posing as your bank in order to steal your data. Exercise caution when you are contacted, out of the blue, by someone claiming to be from the bank.

For example, your financial institution will not call you to ask for sensitive information, such as your checking account number or debit card information.

People making these calls may seem very sincere and have a credible story, but your financial institution already has this information on file. Think about it: why would your bank call you to ask for your account number? When in doubt, give your financial institution a call to verify that it is, in fact, a credible phone call.

The same goes for email communications. Your bank will never ask for your account information in an email. Most institutions will tell you to not click on any unknown links that were sent to you in an email or while searching the Web. By clicking on a link, you could potentially download a virus that enables a hacker to get your login information for your online banking.

Contact your financial institution for more information on these solutions. You will see that you are not as helpless as you think in protecting your identity from theft and fraud, and that your bank can help.