If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that cybercriminals are coming up with new and creative ways to hack businesses and individuals. In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the current scam trends and how you can protect your financial accounts.
Not only do you need to know how to be proactive and vigilant in safeguarding your sensitive information, but you also need to be aware of the signs when you have been breached, so that you can take fast corrective action.
Signs Your Bank Account Might Be Hacked
While there are many signs that your account has been infiltrated, they do not mean that your account has definitely been hacked. There are other reasons that may cause these signs to occur, but if you do notice a red flag, it doesn’t hurt to contact your bank immediately to get the issue sorted out.
Strange or Unfamiliar Purchases
One of the more easily recognizable signs that your account has been hacked is if there are charges on your account that you did not make or checks that you did not issue. Whether it is a large or small charge, if you do not recognize it, it is important to call your bank and have it verified. Keep in mind that hackers do not always make large payments right away. Many times they make small charges first to test and see if the account holder is paying close attention to their account. This is why it is important to check your account frequently to ensure that all of the charges on your account are accurate.
If you are trying to sign into your account and are having trouble getting in, it could be a sign of a hacked account. Once able to gain access to your account, hackers will try to revoke your access to prevent you from stopping the transactions and charges they are sneakily trying to process. If you are struggling to access you account, contact your bank.
Unfortunately, if your card or a transaction is unexpectedly declined, it may be too late. This could mean that your card has been maxed out as a hacker may have already accessed your account and withdrawn the funds. If a bank finds suspicious spending, they might freeze your account for your protection. If you are having issues with your card, be sure to contact your bank.
Protect Your Business Bank Account
Statistics estimate that as much as 80%-90% of data breaches are due to human error. The best preventive measure that can minimize risk of hacking is knowledge. Inform, train, and empower your employees to know what hacking looks like and what red flags to watch for. Fraudsters continually get more creative with spoofing, phishing, and ransomware scams, so make sure your employees are always on alert and take the extra step to question the validity of an email or a phone call before handing over account numbers.
Spending time now with your employees to educate them on the signs of financial account fraud and how to prevent it will help prepare them against hacking in the future — and potentially save your business a lot of headaches down the line.
Use Strong Passwords
While simple passwords are easier to remember, they are also easier for hackers to crack. Creating a password with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols will decrease the chances of a hacker gaining access to your account. Another suggestion is to increase the length of your password: consider making it a sentence, rather than just a key word or two. It’s also recommended to not use the same password on multiple accounts or websites. Once the password is discovered, your other accounts are now at increased risk, too.
Set Internal Controls
Document your internal business processes and segregate duties so that you know exactly what employee has access to what accounts and sensitive information. When you get too lax on internal controls, fraud can creep in and get overlooked.
Setup Two-Factor Authentication
If a strong password is not enough, two-factor authentication will provide a second level of defense for your account against hackers. When someone is attempting to access your account, two-factor authentication will send you an email or text message to verify that you are the one trying to login. This will allow you the opportunity to deny the access if it is not you, or someone with your permission, trying to access the account.
Ask Your Bank About Positive Pay
Positive Pay allows for daily monitoring and reconciling of bank accounts through cash management. A set business representative will check and compare ACH and check transactions that are presented for payment to the company’s authorized transactions on file. ACH is the automated clearing house that is a computer-based electronic network for processing transactions, usually domestic low value payments, between participating financial institutions. This management and daily monitoring will help businesses more quickly detect and prevent ACH and check fraud.
Protect Sensitive Data
Part of your employee training should be ensuring proper and secure handling of sensitive documents, especially those that have account numbers on them. Make sure any documents or checks sent electronically are encrypted or password-protected. Only upload information to trustworthy websites. Being careless with emails and attachments is an expensive mistake waiting to happen.
Be Cautious of Public Wi-Fi
Using public wi-fi opens up your personal devices to others accessing the public network. While not all public wi-fi networks are bad or are a guaranteed way to get hacked, it is important to be cautious and be sure that you are not exposing yourself and your personal information to anyone accessing the network.
The most important thing to know when it comes to protecting your bank account from hackers is simply to be aware. If you know the signs of what to look out for and are aware of account actions, you increase your chance of catching a hacker in the early stages.
If knowing these red flags and preventative tips can help just one small business from going through a costly data breach and the time-consuming process of changing your bank account numbers, then we’re glad to be here to spread the word. Caring about our clients is a true passion of Abacus Payroll, Inc., and something that helps us stand out from other payroll providers. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote. If you have any questions, contact an Abacus Payroll advisor today.
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