You, Your Bank and Cyber Crimes

~ By Herb White, CFP, MBA ~

Herb White - Weighing Your Financial OptionsWhen it comes to your money, just how savvy are you about cyber crimes? Although there are many types of online crimes you should be aware of, the potential for theft of your money and even your identity through your connection to a bank or other financial institution is increasing by leaps and bounds. Do you know what your bank, credit union or credit card company is doing to protect you? And, just as importantly, what are you doing to protect yourself while taking advantage of this modern technology?

Staying Safe: What You Can Do

Think of you and your bank or other financial institution as partners. You and the bank both have a responsibility to protect your money. Your part is to learn more about cyber crimes and take precautionary measures on your end. Just as importantly, you should establish a relationship with your bank. How? If you see anything unusual or worrisome during a transaction, let the bank know. Learn all you can about establishing passwords and safe usage. Read all messages your bank sends or posts online. Learn how the bank is protecting you.

How a Bank Protects Your Online Accounts

Information is the first defense against cyber crimes. Here are some of the common steps most banks and other financial institutions take on your behalf. Along with firewalls and encryption, they provide anti-virus software (also known as anti-malware software). This software helps to prevent, detect, block and remove malicious software that can damage or disable your computer.

In addition, for many years financial institutions have been using transaction monitoring and now can monitor online banking activity for suspicious fund transfers. You likely are familiar with the system locking you out of your account if you try too many incorrect login attempts. Did you also know that your bank will monitor withdrawals from your account searching for any that are irregular or go beyond the pre-established limits?

Many online banking/financial systems now also require multiple layers of user identification, or authentication. These systems can verify the device you are using to access its website. If the device does not match that listed in the bank’s records, additional authentication measures, perhaps asking you challenge questions, will be presented to you. Those challenge questions should ask specific information only you would know. Additionally, when making an online transaction, you may be asked to authenticate your identity by using a telephone or other “out of band” communications?

Here are recommendations for protections that banks can provide to account holders related to electronic funds transfers. Does your bank provide this information to help you safeguard your assets and personal information? (Recommendations developed by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.) According to guidelines by the federal government for several U.S. financial regulatory agencies, a financial institution should provide at minimum this information to its account holders:

  • Does your financial institution explain how and when it may contact you without being solicited and also request confidential account-related credentials?
  • Does it provide a list of risk-control measures you can use to lessen your risks at that bank?
  • Does it also provide a way to contact bank personnel if you notice suspicious account activity or experience security-related issues?

Keep in mind that you are not locked in to your choice of bank or financial institution. You have the opportunity to switch if you feel the bank is not doing its part in keeping you secure.

Even with your finances, it pays to remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Tune in to “America’s Wealth Management Show” sponsored locally by Life Certain Wealth Strategies Saturdays from 5pm to 6pm on news radio 630 KHOW.
Provided by courtesy of Herb White, MBA, CFP©, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERª with Life Certain Wealth Strategies, 8400 E Prentice Ave, #715 Greenwood Village, Colorado, www.lifecertain.com, (303) 793-3999. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC and Registered Investment Advisor. Life Certain Wealth Strategies and Woodbury Financial Services are not affiliated entities. This information is being provided strictly as a courtesy. The content is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual situation or product. The opinions of the author do not reflect those of Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. or its affiliates. This content has not been reviewed by the Broker/Dealer or its affiliates for completeness or accuracy.

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