Ways to bank securely

Keeping your money secure doesn’t just include watching out for fraudulent emails and treating your passwords as top secret. It also includes making sure the ways that you access your bank account are protected, like you would with cash. We’ve put together some tips to help you stay more secure when banking with your credit and debit cards, chequebooks and at ATMs and EFTPOS machines.

Credit and debit cards

Fraudsters can access your credit and debit cards details in many ways including data compromise or mail theft. They use this information over the phone or online to make purchases, or to create counterfeit cards to withdraw your cash at ATMs. 

The following suggestions may help protect your cards from fraudulent use: 

  • Memorise your PIN. Don't use the same PIN for all your cards, and don't choose your date of birth or another number that might be recorded in your wallet or purse in case you lose it or it gets stolen.
  • Regularly check your internet banking and account statements. Call your bankif you see anything suspicious on your account.
  • Do not allow others to remove your card from your sight at any time.
  • Be vigilant when travelling.
  • Know when your card is due to expire and look out for your new card in the mail. Call your card issuer if it doesn’t arrive.
  • Immediately sign any new or replacement card as soon you receive it. Ball point pen works best.
  • Destroy your old card once it’s expired.
  • Be sure your mail box is secure and that only authorised people can access it.
  • Tear up or shred all your credit card receipts and pre-approved card offers before you throw them away. Keep your account statements in a safe place until they are destroyed.
  • Don't give out any card details unless you initiate the call or transaction.
  • If you're using a digital wallet with your card, protect your smart phone in the same way you would your physical card. Don't tell anyone your phone passcode and if your phone is lost or stolen notify your bank immediately. 

If you believe your card has been compromised, contact your bank immediately.

Making online purchases and using internet banking

  • Don’t record or store your card’s CVV in your browser. Your CVV is the three digit number on the back of your card and the only record should be printed on your card.
  • Be wary of opening, running files or clicking on links that are attached to unsolicited emails, on untrusted websites or unsolicited SMS. Particularly if you're asked for personal details, asked to carry out an online purchase or asked to login to internet banking.
  • Try not to use internet banking or make online purchases from public WiFI or public access computers, such as internet cafés. You can never be sure what software is being used on these machines or how secure the Public WiFi access is.
  • Make sure you logout as soon as you have finished with your internet banking or when leave your computer.
  • If you use a mobile banking app on your smart phone, never tell anyone your passcode or set up another persons bio metrics (FaceID or fingerprint). They would then have access to your banking and you could be liable for contributing to any losses.
  • When you make online purchases, make sure you are using a secure website. Different web browsers show this in different ways. For example, in Microsoft Internet Explorer you can check that https:// is displayed at the start of the web address. If your web browser displays a padlock, this indicates a secure connection and that the issued digital certificate from the site is valid.
  • If you make a lot of online purchases, you could consider using a separate account with a minimal limit/balance for online purchases that you 'top up' before purchasing. This would allow you to keep a close eye on what's going in and out of your account. 

Cheques

Protecting your cheques is important to keep your funds safe. At Heritage, we help you protect your finances by providing cheque books with the latest security features. Some more ways you can protect your cheque facility are:

  • Keep your chequebook under your control at all times.
  • Never sign a blank cheque.
  • If your cheques are lost or stolen, contact your bank immediately to report the matter. 
  • When you send a cheque in the mail, put it in a plain envelope – not window faced.
  • Always use a pen or felt tip pen to write your cheques - do not use pencil.
  • Write the amount in words and figures as close as possible to the left hand margin or dollar symbol. Ensure it’s obvious where the amount in words and figures end, to prevent the insertion of any additional words or numbers.
  • Record the details of cheques on cheque stubs and check your account statements against them. If there is a discrepancy, contact your bank immediately.

Using ATMs and EFTPOS

ATMs are common target for scammers who try to steal your card details by installing a card reader or hidden cameras to the ATM. EFTPOS fraud can occur when someone uses your details to re-route your money to their personal account, or records your card details for fraudulent use at a later time. 

To help protect your card details when using ATMs and EFTPOS terminals you should:

  • Always consider your personal safety when using an ATM, particularly at night.
  • Try to use the same ATM if possible and get to know what it looks like. That way you can spot if something has changed.
  • Inspect ATMs to see if anyone has tampered with then. If they have, do not use the ATM. Contact the ATM owner to advise your concerns via the phone number displayed on it.
  • Ensure no one can see you entering your PIN. If someone is standing close to you, either ask them to move back or walk away until the other person leaves.
  • Cover the PIN pad when entering your PIN so no-one can see the number.
  • Be discreet when withdrawing cash and place the notes in your pocket/purse/wallet before leaving the ATM/EPTPOS terminal.
  • Protect any printed receipt or statement details and dispose of them appropriately and securely dispose of them when they are no longer required.

Passbooks

If you use a Passbook it's important to remember that it is a visual record of your bank account and should be protected. At Heritage, passbook accounts can be accessed via either a signature or PIN and we have processes in place to help protect accounts from fraudulent activity. However, to decrease the chances of someone gaining unauthorised access to your account you should also: 

  • Keep your passbook in a safe and secure place.
  • Don't give your passbook to another person for any reason.
  • Never pre-sign withdrawal forms.
  • Always protect your passbook from theft and unauthorised use.
  • If your passbook is lost or stolen, contact your bank immediately. 

If you’d like to learn about other ways to bank securely, head to our Security and Scam Help and Guidance Hub. You might also like to register for the ACCC Scamwatch alerts and visit the Australian Governments Stay Smart Online website.  

 
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