One of the worst feelings in the world is realizing that someone has taken money from your savings or checking account without your permission. While it may be possible to flag or dispute an unauthorized transaction, there is no guarantee that you’ll get your money back. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are required to take steps to limit the possibility of such a transaction from occurring. Here are some steps that your financial institution likely takes to keep your accounts secure.
Denying Suspicious Purchases
Let’s say that you typically use your debit card to buy gas or pay for the groceries that you buy each week. If you attempt to use that same card to purchase a $1,000 computer or to buy an engagement ring, your financial institution will likely flag it as suspicious. In some cases, they may use tools designed by companies like NetOwl to track your spending habits and determine if a purchase seems out of the ordinary. They can then deny or flag suspicious activity and purchases to make you aware of them as soon as possible.
Implementing Two-Factor Authentication
If two-factor authentication is turned on, you will need to take an additional step after entering a password to verify your identity. In most cases, this means entering a code that is sent via text or email or answering a call sent to your mobile device. This makes it difficult for hackers and others to access your account.
Encrypting Account Information
Many financial institutions will encrypt your account information so that it can’t be read by hackers or others who gain unauthorized access to it. Furthermore, any sensitive data that is passed from your bank to a retailer while making a purchase will likely be encrypted until it reaches its intended destination. Anyone who tried to steal your personal data while a transaction is processing would see nothing more than a random series of letters or symbols.
Each time that you access your online account, a cookie is created and stored in your browser. This is used to verify your device’s identity as well as allow the site to load faster. However, to protect your privacy and security, the cookie will expire after a few hours or days. When this happens, you’ll likely need to answer a security question or take other steps before viewing your saving or checking account balances.
If you see suspicious activity on a bank or credit card statement, don’t hesitate to reach out to your financial institution immediately. A representative may be able to temporarily freeze your account, issue a new credit or debit card or take other steps to protect your identity.