Bank safety tips for the holidays

In the lead-up to Christmas the New Zealand Bankers’ Association has reminded people how to avoid fraud and scams over the holiday season.

“This is a special time of the year to share with family and friends. Whether we’re shopping or away on holiday, it pays to take care. We all have an important role to play in protecting ourselves from financial crime,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

“We always need to take care, and the holidays are a good time to remember a few simple ways to keep ourselves safe.”

Card safety:

  • Guard your card. Treat it like cash. Don’t leave it lying around. Make sure you know where your card is at all times.
  • Protect your PIN. Never tell anyone your PINs or passwords – not even the police, bank staff, friends or family.
  • Cover up. When entering your PIN number at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals, shield the PIN pad with your other hand. Criminals may ‘skim’ your card details by attaching a device to the card reader, and then ‘shoulder surf’ or use hidden cameras to record your PIN.
  • Check your statements. Advise your bank immediately of any unauthorised transactions.

When shopping and banking online:

  • Logon to internet banking by typing in your bank’s full web address. Do not use links that appear to take you to your bank’s website.
  • Check you have a secure connection, which is shown by a padlock symbol somewhere on the page, and that the website address starts with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
  • Avoid public computers and public Wi-Fi for internet banking, e.g. internet cafes, libraries or hotels.
  • Protect your identity information and only provide it to trusted people and organisations. This includes your date of birth, address, driver’s licence number and passport details.
  • Shop with trusted retailers. Before you provide personal information make sure they will protect that information.
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date.
  • If you suspect you’ve been taken in by a scam, contact your bank immediately.

If you use your mobile phone for banking:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources
  • Keep device operating systems up to date, and update apps when prompted
  • Use your phone’s password lock feature
  • Shield your passwords from people around you
  • Change your passwords periodically, and make sure they are not easily guessable
  • If available, use anti-virus software
  • Contact your bank immediately if you lose your phone.