How to Keep Your Money Safe
In the wake of the financial crisis—described by many as the
worst since the Great Depression of 1930s—consumers wonder about the stability
of our country’s banking system, specifically the safety of their local
hometown bank. Difficult economic times often increase the likelihood there
will be attempts by unscrupulous individuals to gain access to your account
information and money. How do you know if your bank and your money are safe?
First and foremost, if you are like 98 percent of consumers in
the country, you maintain a cash balance of less than $250,000 in any one
financial institution. Balances of this amount are insured by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and your bank pays hefty FDIC premiums
for this. Since it was established in 1933, the FDIC has insured customer
deposits and protected depositors in the unlikely event of failure. The FDIC
offers helpful guidance for depositors to ensure all accounts are properly
insured at www.fdic.gov. So, there is
little cause for concern that your money is safe, be it in a bank large or
However, there are important things you can—and should—do to
ensure the safety of your money.
Keep a written
log of your credit and debit cards issued by your financial institution. Keep this log
in a safe place in your home or office in case one or more are misplaced or
stolen. Notify your financial institution immediately if a card is lost or
stolen. Never write your personal identification number (PIN) on the back of
your debit card.
account balances for accuracy and any suspicious activity. While banks and other financial institutions
go to great lengths to protect data from identity thieves and others trying to
gain access to your account, it is still very important that you regularly
monitor all accounts.
Beware of any
contact from an individual claiming to be from your financial institution who
asks for account or personal information. This can be by phone or
email, and you should never provide such information. Immediately report this
to your bank so it may notify the proper law enforcement authorities.
If you are
elderly, be extra aware of scam artists. Be it a promise to do
home repairs that requires a large down payment—and the work is never done—or
an investment opportunity that guarantees a high return, scam artists often
target elders. Keep in mind that if something seems too good to be true, it is
usually just that.
phones and other devices that store sensitive account information. Protect these
devices as you would your wallet or purse, and activate the security code and
Be cautious when
using automated teller machines. Use only well-lit
machines that are in public places, and check your surroundings before proceeding
with any transaction.
Your financial institution has a vested interest in protecting
you and your money, and your local banker can be an excellent resource if you
ever have questions or concerns about the safety of your money.
This information is provided with the
understanding that the association is not engaged in rendering specific legal,
accounting, or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is
required, the services of a competent, professional person should be sought.
as a public service by the member banks of the Community Bankers Association of