Protect Your Financial Assets From Fraud
Written by Andrea Klinedinst, Executive Administrative Assistant
It’s the same old story, day in and day out, there are bad actors out there who are looking to earn a quick buck, and one way they do that is by targeting people’s financial assets. Cases where scammers are getting ahold of people’s finances are growing every day. This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to protect your financial assets from fraud. The following is not an all-inclusive list, as that could quickly turn into a novel, but they are some helpful tips to remember to protect you and your finances.
- Never give out your online banking information. Neither MNB nor any other financial institution would ever ask you to give out this information. So if you receive any texts, emails, or calls asking for sensitive information, such as your online banking user name or password, they are not legitimate.
- Remain vigilant about unexpected texts or emails. If you regularly read our fraud education articles, you are familiar with this tip. DO NOT click on any links in unexpected emails or texts. Carefully look at the message to determine if it is real or malicious. If you have any doubts, call the sender or visit the website from an internet browser when possible, but do not click the link or download any files without being absolutely sure it is safe. Clicking a malicious link or downloading a malicious file could lead to viruses, malware, or your information falling into the wrong hands.
- Be wary of calls asking for financial information. If you answer a call and the person on the other end claims to be from your financial institution and they start asking you for your online banking information or account details, chances are it is not a legitimate call. If anything feels wrong, hang up, and call your financial institution from a number on your card or on their official website.
- Don’t trust every offer or person online. There is a lot more being offered online today, from people selling goods, to renting apartments, to job offers and loan offers, the list could go on. One good thing to remember is if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are shopping on legitimate websites, and don’t pay or give your information to any “friends” or salespeople unless you know the person in real life or you know the offer is real. There have been instances where someone made a downpayment and signed a contract for an apartment they found online and when they showed up to the apartment, it was occupied and never actually listed for rent. After that, the buyer could no longer get ahold of the people they had “rented” from. You can’t always trust offers you see online or people you meet online.
- Check your account balances regularly. With MNB's Online Banking and Mobile App, you can check your accounts from anywhere and regularly see what transactions are posting to your account. If you don’t go this route, at least make sure you’re checking your statements every month when you get them.
- Report any fraudulent charges or loss of your card promptly. The sooner you notice suspicious activity on your account, the sooner we can stop more from happening and lessen the chance of financial loss. If you lose or misplace your card, you should call and report it immediately or you can use the Card On/Card Off feature in MNB's Online Banking and Mobile App to turn off your card. Then if you find your card, you can turn it back on, or if you suspect someone else may have had access to it, you can report it to us and order a new card. A good practice is to keep a record of your card numbers, the expiration dates, and the phone number and address of the card company in a safe place. That way, if your card is lost, you will be able to quickly report it missing.
- Set up transaction alerts. One great feature of MNB’s Online Banking and Mobile App is the ability to set up Alerts & Notifications on your accounts and cards. One that I personally like is the alert you can set on your debit card that will tell you if there has been a transaction done with your card. I get a text when my card has been used and was either accepted or declined. Of course, I get the alert every time I use my card, but it is nice to know that if someone else tries to use my card number, I would get an alert then too. There are all kinds of alerts you can set up on your online banking. You can set up account alerts for debits, low or high balances, pending ACH payments, and much more. If you want to learn more about alerts, our customer service department or personal bankers would be happy to help set them up.
- Be careful on public computers and wifi. If you need to use a public computer, make sure you don’t walk away while you are logged in to any personal accounts. When you are done, be sure to log out of everything so no one else can get on and access your accounts. If you absolutely need to use public wifi, do not log into your financial accounts or send any other sensitive information over the internet. Using free public wifi could enable bad guys to get any information you send. When you log in to online banking to check your account, make sure you are using secure wifi, a VPN, or your mobile data.
- Use secure websites. When you are browsing the internet or shopping, be sure that the websites you use are secure. One quick way to tell is by the website address. If there is an “s” at the end of “http”, so “https”, the website is secure. This does not mean that every secure website is legitimate, but if you are using a legitimate website, make sure it is secure before sending any information.
This isn’t meant to make you afraid of using technology or the internet. There are many great benefits these both provide, such as communication with friends and family, learning new things, streaming beloved movies and music, the convenience of shopping and banking from anywhere, and more. The key is making sure you are being safe and are aware of the risks that are out there to prevent anyone from getting ahold of your personal or financial information.
As always, if you notice fraud on your MNB account, contact our Customer Service Department immediately at 877-647-5050 or visit any banking center. Be informed and stay safe!