Online Banking Scams to Look Out For
Online banking enables people to access their money and banking information quickly. However, many scammers take advantage of online banking each year in order to steal people’s personal information and money. Phishing is a common problem in the UK, and many fall prey to online banking scams each year. Here are some top tips to help you better understand online banking scams, what to look out for and how to avoid them.
What Is Online Banking?
Online banking allows users to transfer money, electronically, over the internet. Online banking also enables people to access all of their banking information, such as how much money they have, any savings accounts they may have alongside bank statements. Online banking has completely revolutionised banking and means we no longer need to visit - banks in-person to pay or receive money.
Nevertheless, online banking enables scammers to take advantage of people and steal their money.
What Is Phishing?
Have you ever heard of the term ‘phishing’? The term refers to email scams, often emails attempting to mimic legitimate UK banks, in an attempt to access people’s money. Emails often contain links, or warning messages regarding an individual’s banking, in an attempt for them to believe it is their own bank asking to login. Consequently, once people open or login through false links they then provide scammers with their passwords (which is all they need to login to their online banking, and thus access their money).
What Are Common Online Banking Scams?
Here are some common online banking scams:
1. Phishing Scams - Hackers send either emails or texts, with alerting messages regarding your online banking. Common messages ask users to login immediately to their online bank, providing extremely similar links to their own bank. Once you then open links, cyberattackers can record the passwords you provide. Some phishing scams even ask users to ring customer lines (which are fake, despite not appearing so), and provide security answers many online banking accounts have as an extra layer of security.
2. Passwords - Cyberattackers can often crack passwords through technology. Passwords with only 8 letters are easy to solve, and are common to attacks. Once cybercriminals have your password, they can then either steal your information to transfer money, steal money or purchase things on your behalf.
3. Public Wi-Fi Attacks - People that login to online banking on a public Wi-Fi can become victims of cyberattacks. When you login on an open network, it exposes all of your information and passwords.
4. Computer Viruses - Many phishing scams provide links. Once these are opened, viruses can then be downloaded onto your device resulting in your device becoming exposed and vulnerable to further cyber attacks.
How to Avoid Online Banking Scams
Before opening any message, even if you are certain it is your own bank, there are several steps you should follow to protect your information and money.
- Never provide information to an unknown caller ID, and if you believe it is your bank calling, hang up then ring the official number provided with your bank.
- Look out for typos in emails or texts.
- Banks will never call or email providing urgent actions, avoid these at all costs.
- Never open any links, banks would never do this.
- Banks will never send emails asking you to provide information, avoid these.
Generally, online banking scams can be easy to spot but nowadays there are many which are cleverly formatted. The best method is to avoid any emails, calls or texts and to directly contact your bank yourself to confirm. In most cases, banks will never ask customers to provide information online through emails, texts or other links.