By Odunewu Segun
With recent statistics by the CBN that over N16.5bn was lost to ATM and other banking transactions, it is important to keep these steps in mind when next you do any bank transaction
Thieves are getting smarter in their quest to steal large sums of money from unsuspecting bank account holders. They are also becoming more sophisticated with the use of electronic payment platforms.
And while it is arguably easy for a thief to get enough information to break into your account, it is also easy to protect yourself against such attacks. So, the next time you do any bank transaction, keep the following five steps in mind.
Anytime you type in your password, keep it covered
Some thieves are known to rig cameras at banks’ Automated Teller Machines. This is meant to catch you in the act of typing in your password when you are depositing or taking out money.
The Chief Security Officer of MagTek, Tom Patterson, says that some thieves have gone into grocery stores and installed tiny, hidden cameras, designed to catch your fingers typing in your password, especially when you pay for products with your debit card.
When you are designing your hints for online banking information, be clever. Every thief knows that with your social security number or account number, they can learn your mother’s maiden name; they can probably steal you blind. So, credit card companies and banks in general will often ask you to use other forms of personal information, such as your favourite vacation spot, or your primary or secondary school name.
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Get to know your bank teller
The Security Director, Crescent State Bank, a regional bank in North Carolina, Jo Sorbi, comments on the problem of keeping one’s identity safe. She stresses the importance of staying with a bank for a long time.
According to her, the longer you stay with a bank, the more you create a history with the bank and it can easily suspect any transaction or request that not tally with your financial habit.
Destroy bills and any other paperwork that includes personal and account information. Buy a personal shredder for your house, and be diligent about shredding everything that contains critical information that could be used to steal from you.
Banks are also constantly working on their own prevention methods. The Los Angeles Times recently profiled a security expert, Jim Stickey, who boasted about how he had “stolen” information in a thousand banks, and that while it could be time-consuming to pull off, it was easy.
As the Times revealed, Stickey disguised himself as a pest-control technician, a fire inspector or some other plausible worker, and once he got access into the bank, he would go to work, stealing customers’ personal information (and then reported his findings to the bank management, which hired him to break in).