When Seattle local, Susan Youth, received a cell phone call from a number showing the name of her bank, she didn’t hesitate to answer. The caller asked if she had made a specific recent purchase and even possessed some of her personal information. Based on these facts, Susan assumed the call must be legitimate.
Unfortunately, this proved far from the truth. The caller was a scammer and, through playing an intricate game, managed to steal more than $29,000 from Susan. Her story is, unfortunately, not unique.
Millions fall victim to financial scams yearly, costing them billions of dollars.
Can Your Bank Protect You From Scams?
Susan banked with a big national bank, which did very little to retrieve her money. “I immediately called (my bank) to alert them and was put through the wringer of eight different departments,” said Susan.
When she finally got hold of someone, the response gave her little hope. “‘This is on you.’ This is what he said to me,” said Susan. “I think everyone who hears this story should remove their money from (this bank) because (this bank) isn’t going to protect you,” said Susan.
At Portage Bank, you will not get the run-around every time you call. Unlike the big banks, we are small and personalized, and we take care of our customers.
We have systems to detect and prevent fraud, such as monitoring accounts for unusual activity and providing two-factor authentication for online transactions. However, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it harder for banks to catch everything.
Taking steps to protect yourself as much as possible from scammers is always a good idea.
Here Are Some Tips on How to Protect Yourself From Financial Scams:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails and phone calls asking for personal information. Scammers will often pose as legitimate businesses or government agencies to trick individuals into giving out their personal information.
- Check your bank statements regularly for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If you spot any suspicious activity, report it to your bank immediately.
- Set up two-factor authentication for online transactions. This will require an additional step, such as a code sent to your phone, to complete the transaction and make it harder for scammers to access your account.
- Use strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts, as this makes it easier for scammers to access your information.
- Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, making it easier for scammers to access your information. Avoid logging into sensitive accounts, such as banking or email, while on shared Wi-Fi.
- Be aware of common scams, such as phishing emails and fake charities. Scammers will often use emotional appeals, such as a fake charity for a natural disaster, to trick individuals into giving out their personal information or making a donation.
- Never give out personal information over a phone call or email.
By staying vigilant and following the tips outlined above, individuals can greatly reduce their risk of falling victim to financial scams.
Choose an honest, personalized, family-owned bank that has your back. As scams are on the rise, it’s more important than ever to choose your bank carefully. Questions? Give Portage Bank a call. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can talk to an actual person!