It’s a beautiful sunny day and you have decided to spend it in the park with your friends. You quickly pop to the ATM machine on your way to take out some money to buy an ice cream but something is not right. Your bank balance is showing up as zero. You should have more than £300 in there. Shouldn’t you? Sure you could have lost track of a few pennies here and there but not that much. What’s going on?
You take your card out and try again. You enter your pin and hit balance. The pause between screens is excruciating. You’re holding your breath, as if this small sacrifice will somehow make things better, make your balance alright. But already you suspect the worst and the balance screen only confirms that you’ve been scammed.
No one wants to be the victim of fraud. And yet every year millions of pounds are lost to a variety of different scams, everything from ATM scams to cheque fraud, to online shopping fraud. In fact, online shopping fraud alone costs the UK £140.2m a year. It’s the most expensive of all fraud going. Although telephone and mail order fraud is pushing it close at £105.6m annually.
So, it’s still a big issue. And there’s plenty of techniques that you can and should adopt in order to protect yourself and decrease the chances of it happening to you. But further to that, you might wonder what your bank is doing about all this fraud? Well banks in the UK have all kinds of procedures in place to ensure that you don’t get caught out. The police are pretty vigilant when it comes to online fraud too.
One of the first and simplest forms of security every bank will have in place is passwords. Whenever you have to login to your online bank account, you will be asked for password related information to access the account.
All online banking pages will be secure, i.e. they’ll have the letters HTTPS in the address field of your browser wherever you have to enter personal information. This ensures that the information you are entering can’t be seen or used by someone that it shouldn’t be. Data encryption and timed logouts will also help protect against fraud while Verified by Visa is another added layer of protection and will ask you to validate a transaction (in participating stores) by entering a PIN/password. Mobile banking works in pretty much the same way security-wise.
Of course, there might be suspicious activity on your account that isn’t based around mobile or internet banking – such as cheque fraud or face-to-face fraud. This is why every bank worth visiting will have a dedicated fraud team and a system in place that is constantly monitoring your account looking for suspicious activity. This might include transactions from a foreign country or unusually large purchases. Often you will get a text message or a phone call that will ask you to verify a certain transaction. Certain purchases that look super suspicious might even be blocked until your bank is sure it’s actually you carrying them out.
Now that might sound like a bit of hassle but if it stops you staring at your bank balance at an ATM in horror one lovely summer’s Saturday then surely it’s worth, right?
As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of ways you can fight fraud yourself. When it comes to shopping online, make sure you’re on a secure site. Don’t go near an ATM that looks like it might have been tampered with and never give out all your details over the phone. A bank will only ask for part of your password or a couple of security questions.
This is a collaborative post
Image courtesy of [racth 00013] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net