Online banking is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to bank. It is easy, convenient and above all, very secure.
Unfortunately, fraudsters continue to come up with new ways to target online banking customers. In this page, we aim to make you aware of some of the most common banking scams out there, and how you can protect yourself against them.
You may have heard this term mentioned in recent years. Phishing is the name given to emails which appear to have been sent by your bank or other legitimate organisation (such as Paypal or HMRC), which gather personal information by directing you to a fake website and asking you to enter your personal details. The fraudster then uses this information to access your accounts.
There are several simple steps that you can take to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam:
- Firstly, remember that your bank or other legitimate organisations will never ask you to confirm your personal details through an email.
- Always access your bank's website by typing the address directly into your browser. This will prevent you from accessing a fraudulent copy of the site.
- Turn on the junk mail filter on your email account. This may prevent phishing emails getting through to your inbox.
- If you are at all unsure if the message you have received is genuine, contact your bank who should be able to advise you.
- If you think you may have been caught out by a phishing email, contact your bank or organisation concerned immediately, so that they may take the necessary action to prevent fraudulent activity.
Spyware is a type of computer virus which can monitor your computer activity and allow fraudsters to access your login and password information. This software can be installed on your computer without your knowledge. To minimise your chances of installing spyware:
- Make sure you have up-to-date virus scan software installed on your PC or laptop.
- Do not open any email attachments from people you don't know, or that look unusual.
- Seek advice from a professional if you believe you have a virus on your computer. Avoid using your computer for Internet Banking during this time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of scams that can affect internet banking users. By following the above tips and the precautions below, you will minimise your chances of becoming a victim.
- Ensure your computer security is up-to-date. This means installing the most recent virus scan software, running the latest security updates for your operating system and browser and ensuring that your browser settings are set to the highest security level.
- Always access your bank website by typing the address directly into the address bar, never from a link in an email.
- Ensure the website is secure by checking for the https prefix, locked padlock or unbroken key symbols.
- Never leave your computer whilst logged in to your internet banking account.
- Keep your passwords and log-in details secure.
- Always ensure you log off and close the browser window when you have finished. This is particularly important when using a public computer such as at an internet cafe.
- Check your bank statements regularly and contact your bank if there are any transactions you are unsure about.
- Most importantly, always keep your passwords and PIN numbers secret and never write them down!