There are many warnings to consumers or tips for consumers concerning privacy and security but I generally do not publish them on PogoWasRight.org because this site’s readers are generally more knowledgeable and security savvy than the average individual. But even privacy-conscious individuals may not be aware of a growing trend involving fraudulent bank wire transfers.
If you assume that your bank will make good on any losses you might experience, think again. While banks generally replace any funds if your credit card is involved in fraud the same is not true for debit cards, and even less true for wire transfers. In the past year, we’ve seen an increasing number of such fraudulent transfers affecting small businesses, government agencies, and school districts. I don’t want to sound like Chicken Little, but really, any of us could be next.
If you read nothing else this weekend, do yourself a favor and read this article about Bank of America’s alleged response to a customer who relied on their assurances about online banking and this story about customers suing banks – and vice versa — following phishing attacks.
Then — even if you do not use wire transfers — go check and see what your bank’s policy is with respect to fraudulent wire transfers. Do they accept any responsibility for authenticating that the wire transfer was initiated by you and not some hacker logging in from an unrecognized IP? Will they restore your funds if there is an unauthorized wire transfer? If so, under what conditions? Or will you just be plain out of luck?
Banking online is convenient, but know the risks.