Today, we rely on the internet for just about everything. We search for information, connect with friends and family, shop, conduct business, bank, apply for loans, and so much more every day online.

While the internet has made life simpler, it has also opened people up to more fraud risks. Online thieves are using all kinds of clever schemes to defraud you and obtain your personal information. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Here’s how you can prevent online fraud.

Be Wary of What You’re Being Requested to Send

Online crooks will often pretend to be someone that you trust, such as your bank, a government official, a charity, or a family member. They’ll try to get you to send money or disclose personal information.

No bank, including Western Bank, will ever request sensitive information via email, text message, or social media platforms. Never send personal information using any of these methods.

Pay Attention to Payment Methods

Your credit cards have built-in fraud protection. Payment methods like wiring money, reloadable cards, and gift cards don’t. Scammers may request that you send a payment using one of these methods, making it near impossible to get your money back once you realize what’s happened. No real, honest company will ask or require you to use wire transfers or gift cards to make payments.

Perform Transactions on Secure Sites

Most companies realize the threat of online scams and what crooks can do to their reputations. In an effort to protect themselves and their customers, they’re taking steps to make their websites more secure.

When performing an online transaction or providing personal information, make sure that the website is secure. Western Bank uses several different methods of protection. All information in our online banking is protected with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol for data transfer and has 128-bit encryption.

Avoid Opening Links on Emails from Unknown Senders

Scammer emails are becoming significantly more sophisticated. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to identify fake emails from legitimate ones.
Fake emails may ask you to click on links, which take you to fake websites that request your personal information. The emails may contain attachments that put spyware, viruses, spyware, or other malware onto your computer to steal your information.

If you don’t recognize the sender, or the email looks funny, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.

Conduct Some Research

If you’re unsure of an email you received or have reservations about a company requesting your information, do some research. Look up the sender’s information, the company, or the product online using words like “review” or “scam.” You can talk with trusted family members, co-workers, or friends to see if they have any insight.

Change Passwords Regularly

Data breaches are an unfortunate reality. Scammers can get a hold of your passwords and quickly steal your personal information. To protect yourself, change your passwords frequently. Make sure that the passwords you use are complex and don’t use personally identifiable information (such as names or birthdates).

Don’t use the same password for multiple sites. If you have trouble remembering all of your passwords, consider using a password manager.

Sign Up for Alerts

New scams are constantly appearing as thieves are developing new ways to steal personal information. You can stay on top of the latest scams and prevention tips by signing up for free alerts with the FTC.

Scammers are out there and they’re always on the hunt for personal information to exploit. You need to take steps to protect yourself from fraud. At Western Bank, we take your security seriously. For more information about how we protect your personal information, contact us today.