Hacks, credential stuffing, and phone scams continue to target financial institutions and their users - here are some tips to help keep your information safe.
Summer may be winding down, but hackers haven't been taking any vacation days. As you may have been reading in the press, malicious actors continue to seek out personal information from a variety of sources. Whether through phishing, malicious apps, spoofed websites, vishing, or even smshing, these criminals seek to steal information such as credit card information, banking credentials, security question responses, and Social Security Numbers they can then monetize.
Bank of the West is working hard to keep our customers' information safe, and you can help in that effort. Here are a few easy tips to lower your risk of banking fraud or identity theft:
- Use a username and password combination for your Bank of the West account that is complex and unique. Fraudsters frequently take credentials stolen from one website or service and repeatedly use them on financial websites, a practice known as "credential stuffing." One security research firm recently logged over 3 billion attempts against financial institutions during an 18-month period. The best defense against credential stuffing is to never reuse your Bank of the West username or password on another site, and make it hard to guess with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
- Be alert for suspicious activity – unknown transactions on your credit cards, unanticipated e-mails informing you of a change in address, a locked online banking profile, and unusual one-time password challenges are all signs that someone may be targeting your account. Report fraud or suspicious activity to the Bank of the West contact center at 1-800-488-2265, TTY 1-800-659-5495. Report a lost or stolen credit card to 1-800-996-2638, TTY 1-800-659-5495. If you receive a suspicious e-mail that you believe may be an attempt to compromise your account, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never access banking information or financial services using public computers or unsecure Wi-Fi, and secure your own devices by keeping their software, especially antivirus and anti-malware, up to date.
- Beware of scams! Deals that look too good to be true frequently are, and problems that require "immediate" attention often don't. No matter how urgent someone claims a deal, job offer, or problem is, you should research and confirm its legitimacy before responding. Bank of the West personnel will never ask you for your online banking password over the phone. If you are suspicious that a link to a website or incoming phone call may not be legitimate, type in the known URL or dial the number yourself. Familiarize yourself with the most common social engineering scams here.
- If you haven't already, enable multi-factor authentication or other enhanced authentication for your e-mail and cell phone accounts (for instance, Google, Apple, AT&T, Verizon). Although these accounts may not have direct access to your financial information, they are frequently the "master key" to your other accounts, because those passwords can be reset using e-mail and SMS authentication.
For more tips, alerts, and advice, visit the Bank of the West Security Center at https://www.bankofthewest.com/security-center-personal.html.
Contact us to report:
Fraud or suspicious activity
Lost or stolen credit cards
Suspicious Bank of the West emails