How to get the most from your bank's anti-fraud programs
Financial companies put tremendous resources into developing fraud and security protection systems for their customers’ information and transactions. It’s important for you to use a two-part fraud-protection strategy. First, find a bank that takes aggressive measures to help protect your accounts. Second, take steps to protect yourself.
Here are some ideas to make your banking safer.
Step 1: Choose a bank with high-level protection.
When reviewing your bank’s security protection program, consider these questions:
- How hard would it be for someone to pretend to be you and obtain access to your accounts, at a bank branch, by phone or online?
- Does your bank offer special security features for sensitive transactions, like when you are wiring a large amount of money for the down payment on your new home?
- Does your bank offer automatic security alerts by e-mail or text message to notify you of changes in your personal information, such as your address or irregular activity on your account?
- Does your bank guarantee that you will not be held responsible if you report fraudulent charges on your debit or credit card promptly, through a service such as the Bank of America $0 Liability Guarantee?1
Money Management Tip #8
Many people overestimate their purchasing power by looking at their total salary as money available to spend. Make sure to base your spending plan on your net income.
Step 2: Adopt careful banking habits.
Being proactive can help to protect you from financial fraud. Here are some tips:2
- Practice safe internet usage.
- Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date
- Delete spam emails.
- Do your online shopping only on sites with secure Web pages. (Check the bottom of your browser for an image of a lock or look for “https” in the URL address bar.)
- Never send credit or debit card information, social security numbers or personal information by e-mail.
- Lock your home’s mailbox, if possible, and empty it frequently, as many identity thieves gather information by swiping their victims’ mail.
- Use online banking to pay bills and opt for direct deposits for your paychecks.
- Safeguard your social security number. Don’t give it out to people you don’t know or write it on a check. Keep the card and the number in a safe deposit box or other secure place.
- Get regular credit reports from major credit bureaus, and check them carefully to help you spot unauthorized activity on your accounts quickly and to rectify errors. (See “Credit Bureau Contact Information”)
- Watch out for scams.
- Your bank, government agencies and legitimate organizations will never ask for personal information such as your social security number by phone or e-mail unless you initiate the call, so never provide it.
- If someone offers you a chance to get involved in an attractive business opportunity, do not send money to them by check or make a deposit in any unknown bank account. Get professional help from a lawyer or accountant to do your due diligence.
- Be skeptical of ultra-low priced deals from unfamiliar companies offered by phone or email, and any companies promising you access to work-at-home opportunities for a fee.
Take action now.
Check your bank’s Web site to find out what they’re doing to help protect you from fraud. Take the steps outlined above to establish your own anti-fraud practices.
1 The $0 Liability Guarantee covers fraudulent purchases and payments made by others using your Bank of America credit and debit cards. To be covered, report purchases made by others promptly, and don’t share personal or account information with anyone. Access to funds next business day in most cases, pending resolution of claim. Consult customer and account agreements for full details.
2 Source: Adapted from Visa "Identity Theft" how to safeguard your identity and financial information from theft. ©2009 Visa. Practical Money Skill for Life.
Some accounts and services, and the fees that apply to them, vary from state to state. Please review the information for your state in the Personal Schedule of Fees (at www.bankofamerica.com/feesataglance or at your local Banking Center) and in the Online Banking Service Agreement at www.bankofamerica.com/serviceagreement.