Skip to Content
Close Icon

How to Protect Yourself From Fraud: A Refresher

How to Protect Yourself From Fraud: A Refresher

According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, Iowans lost more than $17 million to fraud in 2020. This represents a roughly 49% increase from the previous year. These statistics highlight the importance of always watchful and knowing how to protect oneself from becoming a victim.

It seems unlikely that fraud will ever be eradicated completely. Every year, fraudsters change their plans and are continuously on the lookout for new ways to perpetrate crimes. These illicit endeavors are becoming more sophisticated as technology develops.

“No one wants to be a victim of fraud, but it can happen to anyone,” said Kara Houston, Security Officer at BANK. “You are your first and best line of defense, so it’s crucial that you never let your guard down.”

How to Protect Yourself

Because fraud can take many forms — email, phone calls, text messages, direct mail, and so on — learning how to recognize possible fraud is critical in avoiding being a victim. To stay safe, follow these guidelines.

  • Any communication demanding personal information should be viewed with caution, especially if it attempts to induce panic or intimidate you into making a fast choice.

    Know how to recognize phishing scams. Cybercriminals are skilled at structuring emails to make them look to come from reputable or well-known sources. Examine any communication carefully for misspellings or grammatical problems, which could signal that the email is bogus.

    In emails, do not click on links or download attachments. If you receive an email and are unsure whether it is genuine, contact the company that appears to have sent it to confirm. Hovering your mouse cursor over a line is also a good idea.

  • Personal information should never be given out online or over the phone. To prevent fraudsters from stealing your identity, keep this information safe.

If You Think You’ve Been a Victim of Fraud

Take the actions below if you feel you have been a victim of fraud.

  • Notify the authorities about the fraud. To report the problem, contact your bank. They can assist you in reviewing your accounts for fraudulent transactions and advising you on next steps.
  • Keep an eye on your accounts. Keep an eye on your accounts for any transactions you don't recognize. If you notice any, contact your bank right away.
  • Change your passwords if necessary. To add an extra degree of security to your online accounts, update your passwords and use two-factor authentication.
  • Look over your credit report. Checking your credit report once a year to ensure everything is correct is a smart idea. You can get your credit report for free.

Protect yourself from fraud with a secure online banking app, such as the one BANK provides. For more information about our online banking, visit

These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association.