How Veterans Can Avoid Online Bank Fraud

How Veterans Can Avoid Online Bank Fraud

Fraudsters target the active-duty military, their families, and veterans due to their regular compensation and benefits. Additionally, they have a strong sense of loyalty to one another, making them vulnerable to scams perpetrated by someone pretending to be someone they know.

The scammers target military families who seek to sell their household goods quickly since they are aware of sudden deployments and relocations. The online availability of military records can make it easy for criminals to obtain information about veterans’ personal histories and military records.

Service members and veterans are often targets for online bank fraud. The guide provides a brief overview of the practices to watch out for and how to avoid them.

Must Read: Best Banks and Credit Unions for Veterans & Active Military

Types of Fraud in Banks

Unfortunately, there are various tools and approaches available to breach and steal personal information. Knowing the most frequent types of fraud will help you better protect yourself. The best way to avoid bank fraud, phishing scams, and other types of scams is to be prepared and knowledgeable about how to spot unusual activity. There is no shortage of fraudulent activity, but these are some of the most popular.

Phishing Scams

These identity theft scams target veterans and military spouses to gain their social security numbers, bank accounts, and other sensitive personal information. The fraudster will contact the veteran by phone, email, or text, posing as a Defense Finance and Accounting Service member or another military institution. 

In certain circumstances, he will claim that your information was lost due to computer problems and that it must be re-entered to process payments. In other cases, emails contain links or attachments that will install rogue applications on your computer, stealing passwords and account information.

Tip: Calls from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) asking for personal information. DFAS or other military organizations never contact veterans for personal financial information, account numbers, or passwords.

Cloned Websites

Scammers go to considerable lengths to build a credible front, even duplicating entire websites of legitimate businesses they know their victims would trust. These fake websites may appear legitimate, but they are simply a means of obtaining your data (Social Security number, passwords, bank account, credit cards, PayPal, birth date, etc.). Keep a close eye on the URL or web address.

Malware Attacks

Any software designed to inflict damage to a single computer, server, or computer network is malicious software. Malware — programs like viruses and spyware – is occasionally used by criminals to get access to your computer, where they can steal information, transmit spam, and commit fraud. Learn how to recognize the indications of malware and what you can do to reclaim your computer and your data.

How to Prevent Online Bank Fraud

Scams will very certainly continue to exist as long as people fall for them. However, the following suggestions can help you safeguard yourself and your bank account.

Choose a Strong Password

When creating an account, use a strong password. Use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numerals, and symbols. Frequently change your passwords and avoid using the same password for several accounts.

Enable Two Factor Authentication

Adding a second layer of defense may make it more difficult for the bad guys to access your data.

Two-factor authentication implies that in addition to a password, passcode, or biometrics login (such as a fingerprint or facial scan) to authenticate that only you have access to your accounts, you will receive a one-time code to type into your phone.

Avoid Public WiFi When Banking

When utilizing public Wi-Fi, be cautious. Even if your computer is password protected, scammers can watch what you do. When logging into the bank, credit card, and VA accounts, use secret Wi-Fi networks. When you’re done, log out of all of your accounts.

Related:How to Set Up Direct Deposit for VA Benefits

Keep Your Software up to Date

With the number of cyber-attacks on the rise, installing antivirus software on your computer or network is more necessary than ever. To prevent viruses from invading your computer, make sure you run and update this program regularly. Additionally, the following software tools should be installed and enabled to help you combat dangerous cyber activity:

  • Anti-spam software: Blocks spam and junk emails from entering your inbox and protects you from phishing emails.
  • Firewall: Keeps viruses and malware from entering your computer.
  • Anti-spyware software: Prevents the installation of spyware on your computer, which displays pop-ups or redirects you to malicious websites.

Your best defense for avoiding viruses, malware, and other internet threats is up-to-date security software, web browsers, and operating systems. Make automatic updates to your default setting to receive new fixes as soon as they become available.

Related Article: What Is the DOD Savings Deposit Program?

Other Fraud and How to Avoid It

Identity Theft

Scammers may impersonate the Veterans Administration and ask veterans to update their credit card, bank account information, or other financial records to steal their data and commit identity theft. Other con-artists may pose as government contractors looking to hire veterans and ask for a copy of the job applicant’s passport, leading to identity theft.

When Ordering Checks and Debit Cards

Even though we’ve made tremendous progress toward cashless payment methods, check fraud remains a significant threat. This is because your name, address, account number, and routing number are all included in a check, which gives a thief plenty of information.

When a thief obtains access to your debit card number—and, in some situations, your personal identification number (PIN)—they can make unlawful purchases or withdraw funds from your account.

Vishing Scams

Vishing is a sort of cybercrime in which personal information is stolen from victims over the phone. During a vishing phone call, a fraudster uses social engineering to trick you into disclosing personal and financial information. The scammer may say that your account has been hacked, act as a bank or law enforcement official, or offer to help you install the software.

Ask Your Bank How to Help Protect Yourself

  • Don’t hesitate to contact your bank, financial institution, creditors, and others. Speak with the fraud department about your concerns.
  • Utilize the resources provided by your banking institution. Forms, tools, statements, and requests can all be accessed via your financial institution’s applications or website or by dialing a verified phone number directly. Most businesses provide additional security features like multi-factor authentication, which requires you to enter a code delivered to your rooted phone or email address before accessing the site or app. This extra step is a fantastic method to improve your safety.
  • A fraud alert or a credit inquiry alert can also be set up. Your bank may send you text notifications if you spend more than the limit you set for your credit and debit cards.
  • Adding a fraud alert to your credit is as simple as contacting one of the three credit bureaus, informing the other two: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Conclusion

Vigilance is the greatest way to avoid becoming a victim of one of the many potential frauds and scams you may come across. Whenever possible, avoid offers that seem too good to be true.

If you are a victim of a financial scam or suspect you may have been, contact your local police, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) right away. Operation Protect Veterans is another program from the United States Postal Service program that provides fraud warnings and prevention.

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