Bank Fraud

Bank fraud occurs when a criminal executes a scheme to steal money from a bank or depositors, often through forgery or impersonation.
How it happens
The following list describes some of the ways identity thieves commit bank fraud:

  • Account Takeovers: A bank account takeover occurs when a criminal gains access to a victim’s account. The identity thief can add himself to the account as a user and even lock the victim out of the account. The identity thief can then transfer money, order new checks and/or launder money through the victim’s account.
  • ATM Skimmers: Some identity thieves use ATM skimmers to steal account information from victims as they make ATM transactions. It’s rare for skimming victims to immediately realize what has happened, since the ATM transaction will seem completely normal. Federal officials and banking industry experts estimate that fraud cases involving ATM skimming devices cost U.S. banks about $1 billion a year.1
  • Opening New Accounts: This occurs when an identity thief opens a new account in a victim’s name. This can allow the identity thief to make purchases or write bad checks under a victim’s name. The identity thief may also open new accounts under a victim’s name for money laundering purposes.

These are just a few examples of bank scams that occur in the United States every day.


How to protect against bank fraud

So what can you do to increase your protection from bank scams? Unfortunately, identity thieves have many ways of stealing your account information, even while you are engaged in perfectly legitimate activities.

Still, there are a few precautions you can take:

Keep an eye on your credit.
Contact your bank immediately if you suspect fraudulent charges.
Use caution when making online transactions.
Don’t answer suspicious emails.