Privacy Week: How to keep your banking secure

As part of Privacy Week the New Zealand Bankers’ Association is reminding people how to keep their banking safe from financial crime.

“Banks take their customers’ privacy and confidentiality very seriously by protecting their systems and customer information. We all have a role to play in keeping our money safe from fraudsters,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Karen Scott-Howman.

“Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to steal our money. They use a range of ways to trick people into handing over personal information, usually by phone or email. Once they have that information, such as your account number, log-in details, or password, they can access your identity and your money.

“Your bank will never ask you for your PINs and passwords. Anyone who asks for these will in all likelihood be trying to scam you.

“Scammers often pretend to be your bank, a government agent, a retailer or someone you trust.”

How to avoid these scams:

  • Don’t give out account details over the phone unless you made the call and you trust that the number you called is genuine.
  • Don’t reply to, click on any links, or open any files in spam emails. Don’t call any numbers in spam emails.
  • Cover up your PIN when entering it at an ATM or payment terminal.

Spam emails are often disguised to look legitimate. If it doesn’t seem right, take care and double check first before handing over personal information. It’s always a good idea to check the email address against one you know to be legitimate.

“If you are the genuine victim of fraud it’s good to know that your bank will stand by you and reimburse any losses. That promise doesn’t override your responsibility to protect access to your bank accounts,” Scott-Howman says.

If you think you’ve been taken in by a banking scam you should contact your bank immediately.

Privacy Week runs from 8 to 12 May. The theme this year is “Trust and Transparency”.