We certainly pay attention when the FBI warns about banking scams. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are avoiding human contact by turning to the Internet and mobile apps. On a national scope, mobile banking alone has seen an increase of 50 percent over just the last few months. While it is great that in a click of a button one can send money, deposit a check, or rearrange their banking information, it has also led to some concerns. In what certainly is no coincidence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently put out a warning that identified banking apps as likely targets for hackers.
FBI Warns About Banking Scams
As was said in the FBI’s announcement:
“As the public increases its use of mobile banking apps, partially due to increased time at home, the FBI anticipates cyber actors will exploit these platforms.”
We recommend that you take a few minutes and read the entire announcement, as it has a lot of information about these threats and quite a few tips that can help protect your mobile banking as well as many other applications.
If you don’t have the chance to go over all of this now, we’ve put together some of the most important tips to abide by if you’re trying to protect yourself and your financial interests and make sure your banking processes are as safe as possible.
Use 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)
2FA, short for Two-Factor Authentication, and often seen nowadays as MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication, is effectively the addition of another identifier to ensure that someone trying to access an account is who they claim to be. Via texting, emailing, or generating a unique code through an application like Google Authenticator, Authy, Duo, or LastPass Authenticator, a user is given the key to open the additional lock on their accounts. These are great because if you are logging into something on one device, it can send a check to another device and vise-versa, making sure that if someone else was trying to get into your accounts, you would be notified.
Any account you use should be protected by 2FA/MFA, especially those that deal with your finances or other sensitive information.
You should always set up 2-Factor Authentication on any account you have, especially if it deals with sensitive information or your money.
Be Smart About Your Passwords
Make sure that any passwords you use are sufficiently secure for your purposes. Rather than using common phrases or easy-to-guess combinations, like your birthday or a pet’s name, use a unique string of characters, numbers, and symbols for each account, or a passphrase consisting of unrelated words.
If You Aren’t Sure, Don’t Click on It
In what is probably the best piece of advice you can give someone who does business online in 2020, if you don’t know who sent it or where it will take you, don’t click on it. In fact, if you aren’t 100 percent sure about something, don’t click on it. Chances are your bank has a mobile app. Download that one from a reputable app store. They may have the link on their website, but if it doesn’t take you to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, don’t click on any link. Your bank has spent significant resources to make sure that their app has the security needed, don’t risk using any other app. When in doubt, just repeat the don’t click it mantra!
Contact the Bank if You Have Questions
Confirmation that it was your bank sending you information, or that their app isn’t working properly at the moment won’t take more than a simple phone call to confirm. Go to their official website and get the customer assistance number.
We’re really glad the FBI covered this tip too, as it’s often glossed over. If you have any suspicion that something is strange or not working correctly, just call your bank. Go to their official website or use the number on the back of your card or from a statement. You don’t want to be fooled into making a mistake that puts your finances in the crosshairs of hackers or scammers. Your bank will never ask you for your name or password over the phone, so never give that information out.
Keep your money out of the hands of cybercriminals and have control over banking security by being vigilant and understanding the signs of a scam. If you would like any more information about keeping your finances secure, please take a look at our Information Security page or call our IT security professionals at COMPANYNAME today at PHONENUMBER.