3 Tips For Preventing Checking Account Fraud

Fraud is on the rise.  Savvy consumers are well aware that online and offline criminals are becoming better equipped to compromise sensitive financial information. Use these 3 smart tips to prevent checking account fraud and to sleep easier.

Build a Monthly Budget

List your expenses and income streams for each month to intelligently balance your checking account. Knowing how much you typically spend through your monthly debits alerts you and your bank of any suspicious, fraudulent activity.

List each income stream that flows into your balance. Keep track of monthly deposits and debits via an online program or by simply noting your finances in a simple note pad. Following this simple practice helps promote peace of mind because you and your bank will know quickly when fraudulent activity occurs.

Set Up Alerts

Have you suffered through the pain and embarrassment of overdrawing your account? Being told that insufficient funds are the cause of a transaction rejection can be a humiliating experience. Having alerts in place may just help you avoid this unfortunate situation.

Provide a reliable email address and active phone number to your bank. You want to be contacted immediately if you have overlooked a large expense for any set month or if you’ve been the victim of fraud.

Most banks will contact you if they note suspicious activity which may be fraud but setting up an alert to remind you of a low balance can help you avoid an unpleasant situation.

Once you’re notified of such a situation you can take the next course of action depending on the nature of the alert. Either deposit sufficient funds immediately from your savings to checking account to cover any future debits or cancel your card and cut it up in the case of fraud.

Keep a Minimum Amount in Your Checking Account

With the high number of fraud cases you’d be wise to keep a minimum amount of money in your checking account. Cover monthly expenses plus a few extra hundred dollars to prevent being wiped out by a particularly clever thief.

You can always transfer more money into your checking account in a jiffy through your savings account. The unexpected happens from time to time so you may need a cash infusion in a pinch. Instead of parking large amounts of money in your bank account to cover an emergency simply transfer money from your savings account to handle the situation.

Cyber criminals and offline thieves specialize in cleaning out big ticket accounts by using the clever approach of making a few $5 or $10 purchases before going for the kill with a large withdrawal. If your bank is vigilant you’ll be notified of any suspicious, irregular purchase quickly but in case they miss any red flags you won’t lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you deposit a minimum amount of cash in your checking account.

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