Tips to Prevent Checking Account Fraud & How to Catch it Early
Many Americans are experiencing fraud on their checking accounts due to a recent spike in mail-related check fraud across the United States. Stolen mail is one of the fastest and easiest ways for criminals to gain access to personal information and use it to commit checking account fraud and identity theft.
Here are some tips to prevent checking account fraud, and how to catch it early if it happens to you.
Review your checking account activity daily.
You can easily do this from your phone or computer using Online or Mobile Banking. By actively monitoring your accounts you’ll be able to catch the fraud as soon as it begins and can prevent more funds from being taken. Banks and credit unions will replace stolen funds if notified in a timely manner and investigation procedures are followed. Stolen identities can also be part of the problem and are often harder to fix if caught too late.
Consider all the bank statements, credit card payments, checks or other documents containing personal information that you send in the mail. This makes it easier than ever for thieves to steal your personal information and commit fraud on your account or even steal your identity. Whenever possible, go paperless. Arrange for all inbound payments to be direct deposited into your checking account including paychecks, government benefits, reimbursements, insurance adjustments and so on.
Use Bill Pay or pay your bills using a credit card.
Consider sending monetary gifts for birthdays or graduations electronically using a peer-to-peer payment app, such as Venmo or Zelle. Most peer-to-peer payment apps are free for personal money exchanges. If you don’t want to use an online bill-pay service, take your mail to the post office directly and use an in-branch drop box.
Enhance your security.
Get a security camera or a camera-equipped doorbell, such as Ring or Google Nest, and have it monitor your mailbox. Mailbox Alarm Sensors are also becoming increasingly popular in the US as mail theft continues to rise.
Other options for keeping your mail safe:
- Use the postal service’s Hold Mail option when traveling to prevent mail from piling up in your mailbox.
- Sign up for Informed Delivery through the U.S. Postal Service, which captures and sends you a daily preview of your mail, so you know if anything is missing.
If you suspect fraud on your account, please contact us immediately.