According to a recent study in 2014, nearly 150 million consumers in the United States avoid online banking because of the immense fear of identity theft.  The study showed that the bank industry could possibly improve revenue by as much $8.3 billion per year if institutions were able to establish consumer confidence in online transactions.  Surveys in the study also showed that well over 88 million online banking consumers in the U.S. would either change banks or tremendously reduce usage if the individual institution they used was compromised by a security breach.

Due to consumer fear and demand, several banking institutions are working diligently to strengthen their online security.  Some have implemented multilayered, proactive strategies that rely on in-house expertise and proven market solutions.  This combination of continuous education, risk management, and web technology teaches banking consumers how to identify signs of identity theft as well as the steps that should be taken to protect their assets.

One of the most popular attempts at banking identity theft came at the expense of Chase Bank, a rather prominent financial institution.  The scam worked via email, warning recipients that foreign internet sources attempted to access their bank account.  The fraudulent email then instructed the recipient to rectify the problem by clicking on a link that redirects them to a phony portal masquerading as the Chase Bank website.  The thieves attempt identity theft by trying to convince a consumer to enter their personal information onto the website.

Protect yourself From Banking Identity Theft

While identity theft can prove to be a financial disaster, there are a few things that can be done to protect your banking information:

•           Sign the back of your debit card as soon as it arrives.

•           Keep track of all receipts from debit purchases and withdrawals from an ATM machine; these recipients should never be disposed in a public trash container.

•           Keep a close eye on your debit card during a transaction.  Also be sure to get the card back immediately following a swipe.

•           Never keep ATM PIN numbers or passwords in your wallet, purse or personal organizer.  Your best bet would be to memorize the number.

•           Immediately report any checks or ATM debit cards that have been lost or stolen.  You should also review any new checks to ensure that none were thieved during transit.

•           Frequently monitor your accounts for any unauthorized use.  This ability is one perk that comes along with online banking as it makes the process very simple.

•         Always pay close attention to the cycles of your bank account statements.  If you are not receiving statements regularly, take the appropriate action and contact the customer
service station of your institution.

•         Keep an eye on your physical mail.  Thieves are quite bold these days and will stoop to any level to make you the next victim of identity theft.

•         Guard your Social Security number.  This number should never be listed on your personal or business checks unless it is absolutely necessary.  In most cases, other types of               identifiers are sufficient.

If you suspect that your bank account has already been compromised, the best advice would be to immediately contact the local authorities and your institution to inform them of the ordeal.

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