As more and more people conduct/go about their banking business online or on mobile devices, cybercrime has become a bigger threat. For many banks, cybersecurity is now a top priority, with spending expected to reach a record $96 billion worldwide in 2018 alone, according to research firm Gartner.
Even though cybercrime is a growing issue, there’s a lot you can do to ensure you don’t become the next victim. You are your best cybercrime counter measure. Here are some of the most common security threats to your bank accounts, tips on how to spot them, and actions you can take to protect yourself.
Phishing (pronounced fishing) is a cybercrime that targets people by email. The email usually looks like it comes from a reputable company. It tries to bait you into revealing sensitive information such as your banking password, social security number, phone number or credit card number.
How to spot it: Look carefully at the email address. There may be an extra letter or number in the address or it might come from a suspicious address you’ve never seen before. There may also be spelling mistakes in the email itself. Another giveaway – it may falsely claim that you have an account at a bank that you don’t have a relationship with.
As a general practice, never click on any links in a suspicious email. Remember, Cathay Bank will never ask for your personal information, such as passwords, in an email. If you’re ever in doubt, contact your bank immediately.
This type of cyberattack is similar to phishing, only it’s done over SMS text or other messaging applications such as WhatsApp or WeChat.
How to spot it: Just as with phishing, look carefully at the phone number or shortcode. If it doesn’t look familiar, don’t open it, click on any link in the message or respond with personal information. Cathay Bank will never ask you for passwords or other personal information over SMS text or messaging apps. If you’re ever in doubt, contact your bank immediately.
Malware generally takes the form of a computer virus or other malicious software that attacks your computer, often to steal information such as bank account numbers or passwords. Part of the difficulty with malware is that stay undetected on your device until the damage is already done.
How to prevent it: Be wary of accessing unknown websites and don’t click on suspicious ads or pop-up quizzes. Exercise caution if using an insecure public wi-fi network or public computer, such as those in a public library or cafe. Also take care to update your computer’s anti-virus software regularly or enable “auto-update” if available.
Account takeover fraud
This occurs when someone else, a criminal, has amassed enough of your personal information to take over control of your bank accounts. This can happen after a phishing attack. It can also happen if your account numbers are found in the trash, on a piece of paper or stolen from your wallet.
How to prevent it: Setting up transaction alerts via email or SMS text can help alert you to suspicious or unauthorized transactions in real-time. If you see anything questionable, be sure to report it to your bank immediately. You can also opt for online, or paperless, statements, which are a secure way to access your bank information. When you receive bank statements through traditional mail, you run the risk of someone intercepting your mail and getting a hold of the statements and your personal information.
Taking a few simple steps to protect yourself from cybercrime can go a long way. Choose passwords that are hard to guess but easy for you to remember. For instance, “Ilovedogsandthebeach18” is harder to crack than “password.” Whenever possible, choose a mix of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters and don’t use the same password on different sites. These measures will help make your password more secure.
Another good practice is to check your credit report regularly. You can get one free credit report each year from any of the three major credit monitoring agencies. Checking your credit report can alert you to identity theft or any errors that could be affecting your credit rating.