Top 10 Tips for Fraud Prevention

At Redwood Capital Bank, we understand the importance of keeping your identity and financial information safe from fraud.

Utilizing online banking alerts and products such as SecurLOCK Equip and Positive Pay are just a few ways that you can take control of your financial security.

Redwood Capital Bank has developed a Top 10 list of easy steps that you can take to guard against fraud.  Click the links below for in-depth information featuring our Top 10 Tips for Fraud Prevention

If you’re a business that uses Online Banking to send ACH, wires, or external transfers, dual controls can help prevent unauthorized transactions from being sent out of your account.  With dual controls, one user enters the payment information into the system, while a different user is required to approve and release the transaction.  Having two sets of eyes on outgoing transactions greatly reduces the chances that a payment will be sent in error, or fraudulently.

With Online Banking alerts, you can be notified anytime a transaction is posted to your account.  If you don’t recognize a transaction, this can be an early-warning system for potential fraud on your account.  The sooner you are alerted, the sooner you can notify the bank, which can help prevent further fraud, and may increase your chances of recovering your losses.  Alerts can also be used to notify you when your balance reaches a certain threshold, or when a loan payment is due, which can save you potential late payment or overdraft fees.  Finally, use alerts to notify you when your contact information is changed on the system, another possible warning signal for fraud.

Protect your debit card with SecurLOCK Equip. This free mobile app allows you to turn your card on/off if it is lost or stolen, set policies for where your card will work and receive alerts whenever your card is used for a transaction. You can also specify which transaction types are allowed, so if you don’t want to allow online transactions using your card, for example, you can simply turn that feature off. SecurLOCK Equip can be used as a standalone app, or accessed via the Card Controls menu within the RCB Mobile Banking app. Take control of your debit card security with SecurLOCK Equip.

New cyber security vulnerabilities are discovered almost daily, and software developers are constantly updating their programs to patch these security holes. Are your systems up-to-date? It’s very important to make sure you are using an operating system and software that is still supported by the manufacturer. Unsupported operating systems like Windows XP (or older) are no longer being patched, so new vulnerabilities will never be fixed. Most software programs have update functionality built-in - make sure to check that you are using the latest version, and update if needed. Also, make sure your anti-malware software and definitions are current.

Social Engineering is a term that describes the use of deception in an effort to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. One of the most well-known examples of social engineering is e-mail “phishing” - the practice of impersonating a legitimate sender while trying to lure a person into clicking a link, opening a file attachment, or otherwise tricking someone into providing system access or personal information. It is important to realize that e-mail is not a secure form of communication, and anything contained in an e-mail should be considered potentially dangerous unless otherwise verified. Use (and change regularly) a secret “safeword” in e-mail when communicating with friends, family, and co-workers, so that everyone knows those e-mails are safe. Never click a link or open an attachment in an e-mail unless you’re sure it’s safe. Being skeptical with e-mail may just save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.

Using the same password for multiple systems is an enormous security risk. If a password is compromised on one system, and that same password is used elsewhere (such as Online Banking), then a criminal may have access to your personal and financial information. Why do people use the same password for multiple systems? Because they have trouble remembering all those passwords. If you are one of these people, consider using password management software on your computer or smart phone. Password management software allows you to securely store multiple passwords in one place, and you only have to remember one password to access them. This way, you can have a different password for every system you login to, without having to remember them all. Password management software helps prevent the bad guys from getting the keys to your kingdom.

Whether or not you’re using alerts to monitor transactions, it’s a good idea to frequently check your accounts for unusual activity. Online banking, mobile banking, and telephone banking are great ways to do this, rather than waiting for your statement to arrive each month. By the time you notice something suspicious on your statement, it may be too late. Frequently monitoring your accounts can help keep you informed about the status of your financial security.

Businesses that write a lot of checks may want to consider using Positive Pay in our Online Banking system to help prevent fraudulent check activity. With Positive Pay, the business defines what check numbers and amounts are authorized to clear their checking accounts. Any checks presented for clearing that do not match Positive Pay are flagged for further review by the business owner or bookkeeper. While Positive Pay does require a bit more administrative overhead, it also greatly reduces the worry of checks being stolen or forged.

Many online systems require passwords to contain a minimum of 8 characters. Take note of the word “minimum”. The longer you make your password, the harder it is for someone to guess it or hack it with password cracking tools. Some have estimated that using hacking software, it can take as little as 2 minutes to crack an 8-character password. But adding just 5 more characters to the password adds years to the time required to crack it. Instead of a password, use a passphrase: a favorite movie title, song lyric, or a line from a poem are all good ways to lengthen, and strengthen, your passwords.

Small business owners may not have access to the same internal resources as bigger companies when it comes to cyber security. However, there are several free resources available that can help, starting with you. Create a security culture for your business that starts at the top. Implement policies and procedures for your employees that will make fraud prevention a priority. There are many resources available online that can help with this: visit the Stop-Think-Connect site at to access material such as tip sheets, posters, and other downloadable content that can be distributed throughout your workplace to help raise awareness. Also, Redwood Capital Bank has a Fraud Prevention page on its website that includes many tips and resources to assist you. Remember, creating a strong security culture is as much about awareness as it is technology.