Surge in Mobile Banking App Usage Increases Fraud Risk

Blog posted On July 08, 2020

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Last month, the FBI reported a 50% increase in mobile banking app usage.  Stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and convenience may have all contributed to a rise in mobile banking.  When done safely, mobile banking is an easy way to manage your finances, pay bills, and deposit checks from the comfort of your home.  However, mobile banking can also put you at risk of cybercrime. 

One of the way fraudsters target mobile banking app users is through app-based banking trojans and fake banking applications.  In 2018, US security research organizations detected 65,000 fake mobile apps on major app stores.  Cyber criminals also target people through phishing emails.  These emails may include fraudulent wiring instructions or suspicious links that may lead to the recipient losing money that is difficult to retrace and get back.

If you’re new to mobile banking or started using it more often because of the coronavirus pandemic, keep these best practices in mind.

Change Your Password

This goes for your email, your social media, and your mobile banking apps.  Changing your password regularly keeps your accounts safe.  Many services will force you to change your password every few months as a precaution.  If you get a notification from one service, consider changing your other passwords at the same time.  Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.  It may be tempting and easier to remember, but you’re increasing your risk.  If a hacker identifies a username and password to one account and it is the same as your other accounts, all of these accounts are now at risk.  

Set Up 2-Factor Authentication

Many apps, especially mobile banking apps, will require 2-factor authentication to sign in.  When you enable 2-factor authentication to log into your mobile banking app, you will receive a text message, email, or push notification to verify it is you who is trying to log in.  If you receive a notification about someone trying to access your account, and it wasn’t you, you’ll have the option to deny their log in and immediately change your password.

Use a Secure WiFi Network

We are used to using our phones on the go, but checking your Instagram is not as risky as checking your bank account balance.  If you need to use your mobile banking app, wait until you can connect to a secure WiFi network at home. 

Communicate with Your Bank

If you receive an email or other notification that looks like it’s from your bank or seems suspicious, simply call your local bank branch or the customer service hotline.  Verify over the phone that the email request is legitimate before taking any actions or clicking any links.  Email phishing schemes are some of the most common ways fraudsters target consumers.  A quick phone call could prevent you from becoming another victim.

Most of the mortgage process can be completed over the phone, online, or through our mobile app.  If you have any questions about your data security let us know.  It’s our goal to make you feel safe and comfortable throughout the mortgage transaction. 


Sources: HousingWire