You work hard for your money and losing it to fraudsters sucks. Many people fall victim to bank fraud daily and there is need to remain vigilant in order to protect yourself, your information and your bank accounts.

Fraudsters are continuously coming up with new tactics to swindle people for financial gain. As technology advances, so does the level of sophistication used to cheat people into parting with their money or assets.

Phishing scams through emails, text messages and phone calls are among the most common ways through which your security is breached.

In this instance, the fraudsters use tricks and emotional hooks to get you to provide sensitive information such as your PIN or even to send money presumably to people you know.

They may state that your account has an issue and that you need to update or verify your PIN, account number, log in details and password etc., through a website link or mobile phone device. Or they may pretend to be your friend who is need of urgent help and ask you to send money.

Phishing scams may also involve you clicking a link that will allow viruses or malware to infiltrate your computer or mobile device so as to give criminals access to your bank account.

It is important to note that your bank would not ask you to confirm your account number, PIN, password or any other personal information through email, text or voice call. So, if someone calls and asks for your banking information, hang up immediately and call your bank directly.

Online banking has become the norm now due to the convenience it avails. Yet with the ease of use comes risks that need to be mitigated.

It is advisable to always use private internet connections to keep your data safe. Yes, that free Wi-Fi may prove to be expensive in the long run if you use it to do online banking transactions as fraudsters lie in wait in the world wide web.

To offer your banking transactions further protection, it is important that your software, operating systems, antivirus and anti-spyware programs and browsers are up-to-date. You should also enable multi-factor authentication to add another layer of protection to your account. Ensure that you use different, strong passwords for your different online accounts.

Additionally, when you are online it is wise to avoid clicking suspicious links.

E-commerce is booming in Kenya with Instagram shops providing shopping and delivery from the comfort of your house. But you should exercise caution when making online payments and always countercheck if the person or company is genuine before providing your bank account details or paying. You can also dedicate a separate account to use for online shopping which only has the money for a particular purchase at any given time.

A further layer of personal protection is to closely monitor your bank accounts to ensure the accuracy of all transactions. A monthly check of your bank statement can alert you to any monkey business.

In the unfortunate case that you fall victim to a fraudster, ensure you do the following:

  • If you shared personal banking details, inform your bank immediately so that they can freeze the accounts.
  • Change the passwords to all your online – email, social networking and online banking – accounts immediately.
  • Report the fraud to the police.

Fraud will always be a constant and the fraudsters keep evolving their tactics which means constant vigilance is the best and only protection for your hard-earned money.

As Eneke the bird says in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, “since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.”