We take fraud prevention seriously, and we work hard on our end to make sure your accounts are as secure as possible. We also feel it’s important to educate our customers to help prevent fraud before it occurs, because it’s always better to avoid fraud than to fix it after it’s happened.
Janice Evans, Origin Bank’s SVP Operational Risk Manager, suggests 10 simple ways that Origin Bank customers can protect themselves and their families from fraud on family vacations.
- Sign up for online banking at your local Origin banking center so you can stay abreast of your finances from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Always let your bank know when you’re heading out of town. Origin Bank can place debit alerts on your accounts to alert you via text or email of the transactions and activity on your accounts while you are traveling. It’s an invaluable tool that helps you catch fraud as it happens. In addition to Debit Alerts, Origin Bank also provides SecurLOCK fraud protection services via text message to all mobile phone numbers listed on your account. You may also want to set up electronic statements to ensure paper statements aren’t sitting in your mailbox while you’re away.
- Look for a bank ATM rather than a standalone or independent ATM. You might think the only risk in a standalone ATM is a high fee, but scammers use cameras and skimming devices to obtain information from your cards (like your pin number) without your knowledge. Standalone ATMs are riskier because they aren’t monitored as closely as a bank’s ATM.
- Always use trustworthy websites to book rentals and cruises. Do your research! If something doesn’t appear legitimate on the site, your best option is to book your rental or cruise through a trusted travel agency.
- Never pay for lodging in advance using Western Union or wire transfers – you may find that you don’t have access to the property and that a scammer has your cash. Seek out rentals that you’re able to pay for using credit cards or PayPal, so that you’re able to dispute a charge if anything goes wrong.
- Keep copies of important documents and customer service phone numbers, and put them somewhere separate from your credit cards. That way, if you need to cancel cards or contact your financial institution, you’ll have that information even if your cards have been lost or stolen.
- Limit the credit cards and other documents you bring on a trip to only those you absolutely need. Take your ID or driver’s license, one credit card, a debit card, or your family debit card. Leave your social security card at home, and if you have a Medicare card, make a copy of the card and blot out all but the last four digits of your number.
- Keep an eye on card activity in the period after you return home – some scammers will wait until you no longer suspect a card has been stolen to use it. If you notice a charge you don’t recognize while examining your statement, call Origin Bank immediately to dispute it.
- Ensure your devices are secure. Password protect your smartphone or tablet, especially if you use the device for financial transactions, and report it to the police immediately if stolen. Also be sure to contact your cell phone provider. Be careful using public Wi-Fi at cafés, hotels, airports and other public places. If you use public Wi-Fi networks, only send information to fully encrypted sites. Try to carry devices with you while traveling – a large purse or backpack is perfect for carrying necessities and keeping your devices handy.
- Keep an eye on your credit cards at all times. If you’re paying for a meal, make sure your waiter doesn’t leave your sight to ring you up. Pay for your gas at the pump if possible, or at the very least keep a close eye on the attendant. Never let someone take your card and walk away; they could copy the card or write down your information to use for fraudulent activity later.
For more tips on avoiding fraud from Janice and her team, contact Origin Bank. Our goal is make you feel secure, so you can be your original, authentic self — whatever your interests, income, budget and lifestyle.