An Abney Associates Fraud Awareness Program: Beware online banking scams

The New Zealand Bankers’ Association today encouraged people to be wary of online banking scams as part of Fraud Awareness Week 2014.

"Online scammers are constantly thinking up new ways to trick people into handing over personal information," said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

"Never give anyone your PIN or internet banking username or password. Your bank will never ask you for this confidential information. Anyone who asks for this, even if they say they’re from your bank or a retailer you know, will in all likelihood be trying to scam you.

"Once scammers have that information, such as your account number, log-in details, or password, they can access your identity and your money."

"If it doesn’t seem right, take care and double check it first before handing over personal information."

"Everyone has a role to play in fighting fraud by being vigilant and reporting scams.

"Reporting scams raises public awareness and helps stop scammers in their tracks. Contact your bank as soon as possible if you think you’ve been taken in by a scam," Hope said.

Scams can also be reported here.

Online scams are the focus of this year’s Fraud Awareness Week campaign, which is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. More information about Fraud Awareness Week is available here.

Safety tips to help protect yourself against online banking and shopping scams include:

o Logon to internet banking by typing in your bank’s full web address. Do not use links that appear to take you to your bank’s website.

o Check you have a secure connection, which is shown by a padlock symbol somewhere on the page, and that the website address starts with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

o Avoid public computers and public Wi-Fi for internet banking, e.g. internet cafes, libraries or hotels.

o Protect your identity information and only provide it to trusted people and organisations. This includes your date of birth, address, driver’s licence number and passport details.

o Shop with trusted retailers. Before you provide personal information make sure they will protect that information.

o Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date.

o If you suspect you’ve been taken in by a scam, contact your bank immediately.

If you use your mobile phone for banking:

o Only download apps from trusted sources

o Keep device operating systems up to date, and update apps when prompted

o Use your phone’s password lock feature

o Shield your passwords from people around you

o Change your passwords periodically, and make sure they are not easily guessable

o If available, use anti-virus software

o Contact your bank immediately if you lose your phone.

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