Bank account safety tips

Where does the safety of a bank account begins? Is the customer or the bank responsible for this? I think both the customer and the bank are responsible for protecting the customer data. If the customer fails to take active steps to protect his bank account, the chances of fraud against the account are high. This post focuses on how a bank customer with simple steps can reduce his chances of being a victim of banking fraud.

Here are some ways to protect you against personal check fraud:

  • Store your checkbook, checks, deposit slips, bank statements, and canceled checks in a secure place. Consider destroying old checks, account statements if no longer needed. Never leave your checkbook in your car or in the open.
  • When it is time get checks, consider ordering them through the bank because banks have standard security features requirements. The security features of check should help combat alteration and counterfeiting. Remember to inspect the new check order. Make sure there is not any checks that is missing.
  • Reconcile your bank statement with your checkbook. If you have an online account, then you don’t have to wait for a bank statement. Report any inaccuracies to the bank to avoid being liable for any losses due to any fraud.
  • Don’t give your bank account number to people you don’t know, especially in unsolicited phone calls.
  • When you write checks, limit the amount of personal information you provide on your check. For example, avoid writing, whenever possible, your driver's license or Social Security numbers on your check. If your check lands in criminal hands with your personal information on it, your identity could be stolen to commit fraudulent acts.
  • When writing checks, another thing to watch for is that you don't leave blank spaces on amount or the payee lines.
  • Use pens that are safe for check writing. Some gel pens, for instance, in the US tells you that they are safe to use for checks.
  • Don't make a check payable to cash because if it lost or stolen, the check can be cashed by anyone.
  • If your checks are lost, notify the bank immediately.

When it comes to endorsing your checks, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Don’t endorse a check until you are ready to cash or deposit it. Try writing for "deposit only" and write your account number. This instructs the bank that the check needs to be deposited in the account listed. Don’t loose your check if you use this option.
  • Endorse checks that are from reliable sources. For example, don’t cash a check that you received for wining a foreign lottery.
  • If you are expecting a cashier’s check from someone, accept it in the normal banking hours. Take the check to the bank, along with the person who gave you the check (if possible). The idea is to have the bank verify the check is legitimate before you accept.

If you use an ATM terminal, here some tips to follow to protect yourself:

  • Do not share your PIN (personal identification number) with anyone.
  • Do not write your PIN on your ATM card. Instead, memorize your PIN.
  • Make sure no one is watching you when you enter your PIN at an ATM terminal. Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to avoid having someone see you as you enter your PIN.
  • Use an ATM machine that you feel is in a safe and comfortable place.
  • Compare your ATM receipt with your statement to detect any inaccuracies or fraud.
Posted on 10/14/2007
by Raj Singh