Online Security Amidst COVID-19 Part 5: Online & Mobile Banking
- Pete Boergermann
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures have accelerated the adoption of digital technology and online platforms by the masses. From social media to video conferencing to Mobile Banking and telemedicine, these new ways to connect are not only convenient, but they’re becoming essential to everyday life.
Fraudsters and cybercriminals now have millions of potential new victims and multiple government agencies are reporting increases in this type of criminal activity. At C&N, we’ve invested in strong cyber-defense systems to protect our customers and we’ve built libraries of resources to share with you. Our goal is to help you stay informed & prepared so you can confidently enjoy the conveniences of modern technology.
In the last part of our “Safe&Secure: Online Security Amidst COVID-19” series, we’ll address Online and Mobile Banking. While these systems are built with robust security measures in place, there are still some risks.
From Convenience to Necessity
The Coronavirus pandemic has created a renewed appreciation for those businesses and industries we may have taken for granted before. Essential businesses, such as banks, are necessary to maintain our daily lives. While social distancing efforts help protect customers and employees, non-traditional money management options are being used at a much greater rate. Online and Mobile Banking use has been on the rise prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and now, those who have been slower to adopt this technology, have seen these digital platforms transform from a convenience to a necessity.
What is “Spoofing?”
Fraudsters are aware of this recent trend and are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of a situation. They have intensified their focus on stealing Online Banking credentials by using advanced ‘spoofing’ techniques to make scam text messages appear more convincing. A new scam has emerged that involves criminals changing the sender ID of a text message to appear to be from a financial institution. Once they gain the victim’s trust, they will persuade the victim to give away their user ID and password. Remember: your bank will never ask for your username or password.
How Can I Prevent this from Happening to Me?
Know when you’re being targeted:
A criminal who has access to your Online Banking account can drain money from your account. If you notice any of the following warning signs, you should contact your bank immediately to change your login credentials, as these can be warning signs that someone has gained access to your Online Banking account:
- You notice purchases you didn’t make
- You notice money that has been transferred to an account you didn’t authorize
- Your debit card or credit card transaction is declined due to insufficient funds
- You receive a secure access code or other type of multifactor authentication that you didn’t request
- You receive an alert for a forgotten password that you didn’t initiate
Take Extra Safety Measures:
No matter where you bank or how secure your Online Banking system may be, it is always a good idea to follow these proper safety protocols:
- Protect your personal information:
- Do not provide account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone
- Protect your PINs and passwords and never share them with anyone
- Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically
- Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites
- Sign up for text or email alerts: Take a few minutes to set up alerts in your Online Banking that will notify you via text or email whenever certain events happen. Some Online Banking platforms allow you to finely tune account alerts that works best for you. These can include certain types of transactions, such as online purchases of more than $500, or account balance alerts, such as if your account falls below $500. These can be tailored to your habits to maximize their effectiveness.
- Protect your mobile device: Setup a passcode to lock your smartphone and other devices. This will make it difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Keep tabs on your email: It's important to keep your email account secure. Criminals look for monthly bank and credit card statements or other financial information in your email account.
- Monitor your accounts: Use Online Banking to regularly monitor transactions on your account. If you see a questionable transaction, notify your bank immediately.
What should I do if I fall victim to a spoofing scam?
The most important thing you can do is contact your bank and let them know immediately. They will help you change your login ID and password and look at other measures if your debit card or bank accounts have been compromised.
Although it’s unfortunate that fraudsters are taking advantage of this global event, you can take precautions to protect yourself. The C&N team is committed to keeping you informed & prepared so that you can stay safely connected from your home or office.
For more helpful articles and information about staying safe & secure online, visit our C&N Library.
Pete Boergermann joined C&N in 1998 and has served as VP Information Technology Manager/Information Security Officer since 2006. In his new role as the Director of Information Security, he is responsible for managing the information security program at C&N, while also championing IT security to make it a critical part of C&N’s business operations.
A United States Air Force Veteran, Pete graduated from the BAI Graduate School of Bank Operations through Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management in 2006 and completed the Pennsylvania Bankers Association’s (PBA) School of Banking in 2009. He earned his credentials as a Certified Information Executive from USC Upstate Campus’s Institute for CIO Excellence in 2016. He also puts his expertise to valuable use as a member of the PBA IT Technology Committee and Chair of the PBA Cyber Sub-committee.
In his spare time, Pete serves as a School Board Member of New Covent Academy and as an Elder at the Church of the New Covent and volunteers for Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally and the Annual Laurel Classic Mountain Bike Challenge. He lives in Wellsboro with his wife, Cassie, and has three daughters, Alyssa, Joy and Mikaela.