With the holiday season just around the corner, shoppers aren’t the only ones ramping up their activity. Fraudsters are also hard at work, capitalizing on the excitement of the season with new ways to convince people to part with their passwords, banking and credit card information … and their money.
The good news is that protecting yourself from fraud starts with taking a moment to pause.
If you receive a phone call, text or email claiming to be from your bank, credit card company, Amazon or any other company, take a moment to pause before taking any action. Fraudsters will often create a sense of urgency for you to respond. By pausing in the moment, you can better assess the situation and avoid sharing personal information or clicking on a link by mistake.
That said, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated, and as people do more transactions online, it’s easy to get tricked. Here are some best practices to help you avoid becoming a victim:
- If someone calls, texts or emails asking for personal information, never respond to the number or email they use. Instead, PAUSE, then contact the organization directly to verify the request. Do this using the contact information you have in your records or published on the official website. Peoples Bank will never ask for your social security number, user ID, account number, or password via email or phone when we call you.
- Be especially cautious when there’s any sense of urgency to the request, or if they tell you to keep it secret. Those are red flags. Know that electronic transfers send money in real time, and, in the case of fraud, those transfers can be impossible to reverse.
- Monitor your accounts regularly. This is easy to do online between mailed statements and you can also use online banking alerts to monitor transactions and banking activity. Always keep passwords, personal identification numbers and account codes secret. It’s a good idea to add multiple layers of security, including stronger passwords and password lock on your smartphone.
- To avoid mail and package theft, try to pick up your mail and packages promptly. Outgoing mail can also be at risk. When sending cash or checks, always deposit envelopes in an official USPS collection box. This can prevent fraudsters from stealing your account information or “washing” your check to change the amount and intended recipient.
- If you are a victim of fraud, reach out to your financial institution. Not only can they discuss next steps and help secure your accounts, but they can also provide valuable tips to prevent it from happening again, and potentially assist in recovering funds, depending on the nature of the fraud.
To learn more about protecting yourself from fraud, please visit peoplesbank-wa.com/security.