With the FBI investigating a cyberattack that hit at least five banks, including JPMorgan Chase, many consumers are wondering what they can do to protect themselves if their accounts have been compromised.
Here are some steps to take:
Don't be taken phishing
Banks and other financial institutions do not send e-mails asking customers to input their account information, verify account data or update their records.
Such e-mails are known as "phishing attacks" because the hackers are fishing for information they can use to enter a network and steal information.
Consumers who get one of these e-mails should immediately delete it. Don't click on any links.
Often, the bank or financial institution will have information on its website about these types of fraud attempts. Open a new browser window, type in your bank's address and search for words such as "fraud" or "scam." When in doubt, call your bank.
JPMorgan has a page specifically addressing phishing. Here's the page Wells Fargo has up:
Check your statements every month
Many consumers don't bother to go through their bank and credit card statements each month. But that's a crucial way to detect fraud early on. Look at each transaction to ensure that you, not a fraudster, made it.
If something looks fishy, call your bank or credit card company.
"The sooner we know what has happened, the sooner we can begin to help you,"Chase writes on its website.
Beware of stray phone calls
If someone calls purporting to be from your bank or financial institution, don't give any account information or other personal information over the phone, including your age, address, Social Security number or information about family members.
While banks and credit card companies will sometimes call when they detect fraud, they do not ask for information on those calls.
If someone does ask, get their name, title, location and phone number. Then, don'tcall that number back; call the bank's general number and ask them to put you through to that person.
No bank employee should become angry or frustrated if you want to be careful and confirm that it's a legitimate call; they will welcome it.
Scammers often try to intimidate their victims into giving information — don't fall for it.
The Internet is a wonderful, hugely useful addition to our lives. But it's also a great venue for scammers and fraudsters — often in other countries — to try to steal from you.
There are entire call centers and offices devoted to creating this type of fraud; it's organized, well-funded crime.
You wouldn't give a stranger who walked up to you on the street information about your financial accounts. Don't do it online.