Internet banking is fast becoming a way of life. Almost everyone has some type of internet banking account, and most banking transactions are processed electronically. However, just like traditional banking, there are many potential victim areas. In the United States alone, the following are the most commonly reported internet banking fraud cases:
First, you have identity theft. Millions of dollars are lost each year from unsuspecting victims who are not aware that their bank account has been compromised. Internet banking fraud happens when a criminal obtains your bank account information such as account number, routing number, personal identification number, and so forth, and uses it to make purchases online or do other things to your account. Most common types of Internet banking fraud involve phishing scams, in which an individual tries to get personal information from you in order to steal your financial information. Other scammers are less sneaky and will use your information themselves in an attempt to open a new account. There have been successful cases of online banking scam criminals charging card statements through credit cards in their name, and then running off with the money.
Next, there’s financial fraud. This form of Internet banking fraud is often associated with tax crimes. Financial crimes include mail or wire fraud, which is a misrepresentation about the value of an item for monetary compensation (such as for an item to be shipped to a non-existent retail location), falsely billing clients for services they never receive, and stealing from banks and other institutions. It’s also possible to become a victim of identity theft via your computer, which can lead to issues such as identity theft, false credit reports, and so forth. In fact, the recent high-profile bank heist in Bangladesh showed how easily it is for someone to misuse another person’s identity.
Finally, there’s fraud with online banking. Online banking fraud occurs when someone takes advantage of your online banking account by stealing your information. Not only can this result in financial loss, but it can also land you in serious legal trouble, including criminal prosecution. Hackers can access customer financial data through bank servers, take out unauthorized charges on accounts, or even use your information for spamming purposes. For example, an Internet bank could be hacked and unauthorized charges could be placed onto a customer’s account, or a hacker could use your information to open up multiple accounts in your name.
Online banking fraud is nothing new. However, in this age of the Internet, these types of activities are being carried out more often. Consumers need to take special precautions to prevent themselves from becoming a victim.
There are many steps that you can take to protect yourself from these types of attacks. Always be cautious of who you provide personal information to when completing forms online. If you’re ever asked for personal information, always check to see if the site is secure before providing it. When signing up for a site, it’s also a good idea to do some research on the service provider to make sure they’re trustworthy. And finally, never use your debit card or credit card to make purchases unless you’re absolutely certain that the site is secure. In addition, you should avoid giving out your social security number to anyone over the phone, because hackers could use this information to easily gain access to your bank account.