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How do I Protect my Bank Account Information?

By Lori Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
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Preventing others from accessing your bank account information is generally achieved by safeguarding personal identifiers and account numbers. If you enjoy Internet shopping, only visit websites you trust and avoid responding to electronic mail that requests usernames, passwords, or other personal details. It is also a good idea to store checkbooks and credit cards in a safe place, never unattended in a car or other areas that thieves may target.

One of the most common forms of theft occurs through the Internet. If you receive email from a financial institution or other organization that asks you to respond by entering your username, password, bank account information, or other personal identifier, you may be a target. Many times, this type of email will contain a hyperlink that redirects victims to a website that may appear genuine, when in fact, it is not.

People who fall victim to phishing scams can be tricked into entering sensitive data over the Internet. To be safe, avoid clicking on a hyperlink if you receive this type of email, especially when unsolicited messages are received. Most financial institutions are aware of these schemes and will not ask you for your personal information via email. When in doubt, contact your bank directly to inquire about suspicious messages.

If you receive an unsolicited phone call from a telemarketer who tries to sell you something or asks for a donation, avoid giving them your bank account information. Many thieves use this tactic to persuade unsuspecting people to give them personal data. Your placing a call to a reputable business, is usually much safer than if someone unknown initiates the call to you. When you do make a purchase over the phone using your debit card, never give anyone your account password.

Personal identification numbers (PINs) are generally issued to account holders for credit and debit cards as a means for customers to access cash at an automatic teller machine (ATM). Safeguard your PIN and be cautious about sharing it with anyone. If you have trouble memorizing it, ask the financial institution how you can go about changing the PIN to something you will remember. Never write it down and store in your wallet. If a thief steals it, you do not want him to have access to this sensitive bank account information.

Also, it is generally a good idea to select a unique PIN that is difficult for someone to guess. You should not use common, obvious identifiers, like birth dates or Social Security numbers. If you do this and someone steals your identification, in addition to your cards, he may also have access to some of this other personal information.

Bank and credit card statements should be thoroughly reviewed to make sure that all account activity is accurate. Some people choose to wait until their monthly copy arrives in the mail. Many financial institutions have a website that allows account-holders to securely log-in and view activity, however. If your bank offers this service, you may want to review your account more often in this way. As soon as you notice a discrepancy, notify them immediately so that appropriate action can be taken.

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Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Jan 16, 2015

@Animandel - I agree that shopping online is risky. I have an uncle who will not buy anything online with his regular bank cards because he is afraid someone will get his bank account information and take all of his money. Instead, he buys the cash cards in the store, and he can use these like his bank card.

You can buy a $600 card and use it as you need it. If someone were to get access to the card then he or she would be able to take only the amount of money that was left on the card. This cuts the risks of shopping online to a certain degree.

By Animandel — On Jan 16, 2015

I love to shop online, especially when I can find a good deal. Internet shopping is really good during busy shopping seasons when there are way too many shoppers in the stores. I try to be extra careful about where I use my bank card and what type of information I give on the Internet sites, but I still worry that someone is out there trying to get my bank account information, and it is just a matter of time before someone succeeds in doing exactly this.

By Laotionne — On Jan 15, 2015

I'm not exactly sure how they are doing this, but someone or a group of people around here have been getting people's bank card information from the cash machines. I think they are attaching some type of camera near the machines, and they film the person's card number and bank account information and the pin number when the person punches this into the machine to get to his or her account.

I never stop being surprised by the way people will come up with to get your personal information so they can take your money or use your identity for one reason or another. I am almost afraid to take my bank card out of my purse, or out of the house for that matter.

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