Cybersecurity threats are growing across the board, but bank fraud remains one of the most devastating threats for businesses and individuals alike. Banking and financial transactions have shifted to the digital sphere, and hackers have taken notice. Deceptive techniques like spoofing, in which cybercriminals trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, have been rising for years, and it’s imperative to stay vigilant when handling our personal data online. Our phones, email accounts, and browsers are key entry points for sophisticated hackers looking to seize access to our finances. We’re breaking down how you can safeguard yours so you don’t fall victim to today’s most common cyber attacks.

2b1 Inc. has helped thousands of clients protect against cyber threats. Here’s our best advice for protecting your practice against bank fraud:

1. Know how hackers operate

Cybercriminals employ several methods to gain access to financial assets, including phishing and spoofing emails, Business Email Compromise (BEC), whaling, zero-day exploits, and malicious email attachments. If these terms are somewhat unfamiliar, that’s okay: these are basically all ways for hackers to infiltrate your email accounts. Knowing this is a key entry point for hackers and staying vigilant about your email practices (or working with cybersecurity experts) will help you stay protected.

2. Spoofing: Always check the source

Hackers have built extremely sophisticated methods to impersonate legitimate businesses. However, the primary method used by hackers to perpetrate bank fraud is spoofing. Often, they use emails or phone calls to pose as a bank employee or even a trusted personal contact. If you receive an email from your bank requesting action on your part, always double check the sender’s name and the sender’s email domain. Lazy hackers will frequently impersonate legitimate businesses with email addresses that look normal… until you expand the sender’s info and find the inconsistencies. Similarly, hackers can cleverly impersonate bank employees over the phone. Always check if the phone number is actually affiliated with your financial institution.

When receiving a phone call or email from your bank, it is often a good idea to end the conversation and reach out yourself – using the customer service number or contact form listed on their official website. This will give you an additional layer of protection and ensure you’re communicating with a real employee.

3. Don’t click unexpected links

Sorry, we know this one is basic. But it bears repeating: don’t click links on suspicious or unexpected emails! Hackers are able to clone legitimate websites down to the last pixel. Even a convincing link and website may be taking you to a data capture point for a hacker. Staying away from unexpected links and carefully checking website domains will help you ensure the sender is legitimate. Even then, it is always best to reach out yourself via their official channels. We know it’s a hassle, but all it takes is one link to download malware onto your device.

4. Ignore the urgency

Hackers will frequently instill a sense of urgency in their attempts to scam you. If you have a conversation with a bank employee who needs your information now, it is a good idea to pause and evaluate the situation. Hackers want to keep you on the line, and they want to pressure you into providing your information before your healthy skepticism kicks in. When in doubt, end the conversation and reach out on your bank’s legitimate channels.

5. Don’t share your passwords – or those verification codes

We know you already know this, but you should never give out your sensitive information online or over the phone. By going through your bank’s legitimate channels, you’ll be able to ensure that you aren’t providing your passcodes to a potential hacker. By avoiding suspicious links, you will also prevent malware from tracking your passcodes on legitimate websites.

A friend of ours received a call from a bank employee alerting her to fraud on her account. He was patient and well-spoken as he walked her through the unauthorized transactions on her card and took down her information. It was only when he asked for the multi-factor authentication code sent to her phone that she became suspicious. Luckily, she ended the call before providing the last piece of data he needed to infiltrate her accounts. When she called her bank, her suspicions were confirmed: the caller wasn’t an employee at all but a hacker using urgency and a false sense of trust to gain access to her savings.

6. Step up your cybersecurity efforts with professional tools

If you’ve encountered cyberattacks before or just want full peace of mind for your practice, you can seek out comprehensive cybersecurity tools to proactively monitor and prevent digital threats. We built 2b1 Care to be fully customizable, so you can choose the cybersecurity tools that will make the most impact for your team. Our Advanced Email Security automatically flags and blocks suspicious emails, while tools like 2b1 Care’s Advanced Security solutions protect the other entry points into your business.

Awareness is key to protect against threats like bank fraud. Knowing the tactics hackers use will give you an advantage in protecting your practice. By double-checking a sender’s information, always using official channels for communications, and ignoring false urgency and taking the time to evaluate a threat, you’ve created a first line of defense against bank fraud at your practice. If you want to take your security measures even further, the 2b1 Inc. team is here to help.