Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Protecting Your Bank Account from Fraud

Hackers are scammers are always looking for ways to get your bank account information. Staying proactive and following some simple safety tips can help you protect your bank account.

Online Banking Tips

  • Password protect your phone, tablet, computer
    Password protect your devices when not in use to prevent unauthorized access and to protect yourself in case your device is lost or stolen. Consult the documentation of your device for information on how to set up password protection.
  • Create strong, unique passwords and change them every 3 months
    Passwords should be 8 or more characters long and include a combination of numbers, symbols and upper- and lowercase letters.
  • Use multi factor authentication
    If your bank or credit union offers multi factor authentication. Use it. Multicolor authentication is a method in which your device is granted access after successfully providing two or more pieces of information.
  • Don't keep your accounts logged in
    When you are done with online banking, log out.
  • Avoid banking on public WIFI
    Public WIFI isn't necessarily secure. Avoid doing online banking on public WIFI networks. Save that for a secure network at home.
  • Don't access your bank account from a shared computer
    Avoid accessing your bank account from a computer that is not yours or is a shared computer.
  • Only buy from secure websites
    Before making a purchase online, make sure the website is secure and authentic. Avoid using your debit card and opt to use your credit card. Credit cards offer more protection.

General Tips

  • Don't provide personal or account information unless you initiate contact
    Your financial institution should not ask for you to supply personal information, such as your social security number or account number, via text or email. Be suspicious of any unsolicited requests for your information. When in doubt, contact your financial institution via the phone number on the back of your debit/credit card.
  • Never provide your bank account or personal information via email
    Your financial institution should never ask for information like your social security number, bank account information, or credit card information via email.
  • Check your account regularly for unauthorized charges or withdrawals
    Make it a habit to check your bank account transactions frequently for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Report any fraudulent charges immediately to your bank or credit union.
  • Check your annual credit report at least once a year
    Visit to obtain your free credit report. Check for unauthorized accounts opened in your name.
  • Report lost/stolen cards right away
    If your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, report it right away to your financial institution.