While much of our Check Issuing blog is spent talking about the corporate lifestyle and corporate check disbursement advantages, today we’d like to focus on something much more personal: Personal Checking Fraud Prevention. Everyone has a checking account and many of us have probably encountered at least small events of fraud at one time or another. Whether it was straight up check fraud or someone stealing your debit card or someone just getting your checking information and using it for evil. We’ve all been there. But how can we do our absolute best to prevent these terrible, inconvenient instances? Well, believe it or not, some of the advice may well surprise you.
You may want to opt to NOT sign the back of your debit card. When you sign your debit card, you commit the ultimate fraud invitation. Your debit card has you card number and 3 digit access code on it for making live and online purchases, and your signature is the key to furthering the already existing fraud of someone having possession of your debit card. Leave it empty and just opt to show your ID when you make purchases if requested. This is a tough one for most of us because back in the day if you didn’t sign your CC, they wouldn’t sell products to you and in some movies, the cashier confiscated the card. Of course, that’s overblown, but now days you really don’t want anyone knowing how to recreate your signature particularly when they have your card’s vital information on it. Just show ID, much better solution.
If you can opt out of paper records, do so immediately. The less paper bank statements you have, the less opportunity for someone to get your critical financial information and begin the check fraud process. It only takes one mistake where you forget to shred those statements for someone to really sink their teeth in. These days, you can do everything online, including on your smart phone, and while that may sound unsafe, it is actually 100 times safer than paper documents floating around for people to use for fraudulent activity.
Don’t have crappy passwords. You shouldn’t actually be able to remember your password, if you can, that probably means its no good. Get a program such as lastpass.com, which is free, to create really complex passwords and offer higher level security. If your bank offers you the opportunity at 2-step verification whereas you get a pin number sent to your phone every time you log into your bank account, you should take advantage of it. If someone can get into your bank account online due to a bad password, that’s no good and totally preventable.
While it may be tempting, its just better to not access your online bank account from public spaces such as coffee shops or restaurants. Many fraudsters use these connections to steal access codes and whatnot. You are better off using your phone’s 3g or 4g network rather than logging on to the wireless of a public place to access your bank’s smartphone app.
While check fraud and bank account fraud are very prominent, most of it is really super preventable if you just pay attention and do the right things.