As your financial institution, Merchants Bank prioritizes safety and security each and every day. We’ve all heard the horror stories of a stranger, acquaintance or even loved one falling for a scammer’s antics and have likely felt the stress and worry that comes from putting ourselves in the victim’s shoes.
It is all too common, and it can be quite easy to fall for scams when you do not know what you should be looking for. In fact, our friends over at www.banksneveraskthat.com, a resource created and maintained by the American Bankers Association, have pointed to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report highlighting that U.S. consumers in total lost around $8.8 billion in 2022 due to fraud from investment, financial and phishing scams. This is an issue that only continues to increase as data from that FTC report showed that the overall percent increase in fraud from 2021 to 2022 was more than 30%.
The harsh reality is that scammers will always be coming up with new tricks and schemes to try and pull one over on us; but the good news is that there are ways to identify whether or not a touchpoint is a scam or authentic outreach from your banking entity. Here is what you need to know.
As a customer of Merchants Bank, we want to ensure that you are well equipped to identify our authentic communication from the imposters. The Banks Never Ask That website offers these four red flags to keep in mind when questioning a touchpoint’s authenticity.
- You’ve received a text message that makes you feel uneasy: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam.
- A strange email has arrived in your inbox: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam.
- You’ve answered a phone call and the caller has an extravagant or questionable request: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number? No! If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.
- You receive a message urging you to make changes within your payment apps: Beware of text messages from someone claiming to be your bank saying your account has been hacked. The scammer may ask you to send money to a new account they’ve created for you, but that’s a scam!
In addition to being on alert when it comes to direct communication, it is important to be vigilant with your management of data and use of technology. Here are a few ways to better secure your information.
- It is always a good idea to implement multi-factor authentication when offered by your bank or financial institution, place of employment, university or other education system, phone or computer apps, and more. This creates another line of defense to ensure the individual accessing your information and accounts is YOU!
- Be wise with your password selection by incorporating both uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. We know it’s hard but try not to use the same password across all of your accounts.
- Avoid using a public or unsecure Wi-Fi network when checking your credit card details, bank account or when paying your bills. Rely on your personal, secure network when carrying out these types of tasks.
When it comes to your finances, it is best to reach out to your bank directly before ever clicking or responding to any questionable requests. Our team at Merchants Bank is here to best serve and support our customers. If you receive suspicious or fraudulent messages or communication in any form, please notify us immediately by reaching out to one of our customer service professionals.
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