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What Consumers Should Know About Account Takeover Fraud

posted on Monday, August 6, 2018 in Security & Fraud Information

In today’s digital world, identity theft is a possibility that anyone with an online financial account could face. We want to educate you about one cyber threat that increased by 45 percent in 2017. It’s called account takeover fraud and involves a criminal taking control of a corporation’s or a consumer’s financial accounts.

How It Works

Cyber criminals can use various pieces of personal data to initiate an account takeover, including email address, full name or birthdate. It doesn’t have to be sensitive information like a bank account number or Social Security Number. They can obtain this information through phishing schemes, malware, social media and other practices. Any business or consumer could be a target.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves

Northwest Bank takes data protection very seriously and uses many different systems to protect customers’ data.  There are several steps consumers can take to protect themselves from attack as well. Consider the following precautions:

  • Avoid using the same password on multiple accounts. By using the same password, if one account is compromised, it potentially makes it easier for a cybercriminal to gain access to additional accounts that use the same login information.
  • Change passwords often. Stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by updating passwords periodically. Be sure to use complex passwords (passwords using upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters).
  • Limit outsider access to social media accounts. Cybercriminals mine social media for personal information they can use to exploit your accounts. Change the settings on your accounts so only people to whom you grant access can see your social media activity.
  • Keep an eye on your financial accounts. Watch your banking and credit card statements for suspicious activity. Use online banking when possible to monitor transactions more frequently. If you see a transaction you don’t recognize, contact the bank or other financial institution immediately.


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