How to Avoid Online Banking Fraud

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Unfortunately, online banking fraud is on the rise. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s data, there were 145,206 reported cases of bank fraud in 2023, up 12% from 2022. The thought of your data being compromised is scary and frustrating. 

Online banking fraud occurs when unauthorized individuals gain access to your bank account and use it for fraudulent activities. Becoming a victim of online banking fraud can be financially damaging, opening the door to a plummeting credit score and identity theft. 

Check out some common types of online banking fraud and learn how to avoid online banking fraud here.

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The most common types of online banking scams 

Online banking scams come in various forms, such as phishing emails, fake websites, and social engineering tactics. Most of these scams display themselves as a matter of urgency, prompting victims to take immediate action without thinking through the consequences. Here’s an overview of the common banking scams you might see. 

1. Social media impersonation 

In this type of scam, fraudsters create fake social media accounts, impersonating legitimate companies. They then use these accounts to deceive unsuspecting victims into providing their personal or bank details.

MoneyLion will never reach out via social media to request personal login information through these channels. Our official social media account also has a blue verified checkmark. This checkmark helps confirm the legitimacy of our accounts, so beware of any other account name without the checkmark.

2. Phishing scams

Perhaps the most popular form of online banking fraud is phishing. Fraudsters can use email, text messages, or phone calls to trick victims into providing personal information. Phishing scams often contain urgent requests to update account information or verify a transaction. For example, you might get a message that appears to be from your bank stating that payment was declined or someone tried to use your social security number to open a new account. 

3. Imposter scams

In other instances, the scammer may pose as a trusted person, such as a bank representative or government official, to trick victims into providing personal or financial information. In these cases, they may email you or call you over the phone urgently asking you to verify information. 

4. False winnings or special offer

Online banking scammers may also contact victims via email, phone, or social media, informing them that they have won a prize or special offer. The victim is then asked to provide personal and bank information to claim the prize. 

MoneyLion offers promos, bonuses, or sweepstakes from time to time. Always verify that you’re communicating with MoneyLion through an official channel. If you’re skeptical, you can always reach out to MoneyLion support to validate that winning is accurate. We have contact information at the bottom right of our main page at

5. TAC / OTP scams

Transaction authorisation code (TAC) or one-time password (OTP) is a unique code sent to your mobile device for authentication purposes. Scammers may call claiming they accidentally registered an account with your phone number and requesting that you give them the TAC or OTP that was just sent. They may say they need your help accessing their bank or another account. Don’t give them the TCP or OTP! In many cases, they already have your password and attempt to access your bank account through a two-step verification process. 

Avoiding these scams involves similar best practices used for avoiding other scams. For example:

  • Don’t answer calls or reply to unknown numbers, or don’t give out personal information without first contacting your financial institution directly. 
  • Don’t share your TAC number with anyone, keep these codes confidential.
  • Ignore any OTPs you receive that you did not request.
  • If the caller seems urgent or pressing, that’s more reason to exercise caution. A sense of urgency is one tactic scammers use to pressure you into action. 
  • If you fall for one of these scams and give out an OTP, contact your bank immediately to block your account and change your password. 

9 online banking fraud prevention tips

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their tactics and can easily trick unsuspecting victims into giving away their personal and financial information. Fraudsters can target anyone, so follow these tips to help protect yourself.

1. Verify who you’re speaking with

MoneyLion will never ask for account login information via phone calls, text messages, or emails. Even if the person claiming seems legitimate, it’s always best to contact MoneyLion directly to confirm requests for your login information.

2. Never share passwords or log-in credentials

Keep your password confidential and never share it with anyone, including your close friends or relatives. If you suspect that your password at MoneyLion has been compromised, change it immediately and notify us.

3. Be suspicious of urgent requests

If you receive a message that says something like “You need to make a payment now or risk foreclosure,” take a moment to pause and verify the request. Don’t let scammers take advantage of you by rushing you into a decision.

4. Create strong passwords

Creating strong passwords will also help protect you from fraud. If allowed, your passwords should be a minimum of 12 characters and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

5. Enable two-factor authentication or biometrics 

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires you to confirm your identity. MoneyLion will request two-factor authentication in certain circumstances to help protect your account. 

6. Use public Wi-Fi with caution 

Hackers can easily set up fake Wi-Fi networks, so only connect to networks you trust when accessing your online banking account. Better yet, use a VPN to protect your data if you have to access banking information from public Wi-Fi. 

7. Don’t open links in emails or texts

Sometimes, fraudsters will send you an email or text that looks like it’s from your financial institution. The message might say there’s a problem with your account or ask you to click on a link to update your information. If you get one of these messages, don’t click on the link. Instead, go to your bank website or app and log in to your account to update any information needed.

8. Install anti-virus and spyware protection

Scammers might install malware on your computer without your knowledge. Antivirus software scans your computer for malicious software and, if found, can help remove it.

9. Monitor your account regularly

Keeping track of your account can help identify unauthorized transactions. It will make it easier to detect fraud immediately when it occurs and take necessary action. 

Safeguarding your finances in the digital age

Online banking fraud is a growing concern, and anyone can be a victim. Scammers constantly evolve their tactics, making it more difficult for even the most vigilant of us to avoid falling victim. Recovering lost assets can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and in some cases, it may not be possible at all. 

If something feels off from MoneyLion, you can always reach out to the MoneyLion support team to verify if it’s a legitimate request or message, and you can report fraud directly to the FTC. You can learn more about protecting your accounts from online fraud and the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze. Keep educating yourself with MoneyLion’s resources! To get started, find the financial literacy terms you need to know


What is online banking fraud?

Online banking fraud is any type of unauthorized access to your bank account. It can occur when a criminal accesses the accounts through insecure passwords, phishing emails, phishing calls, or other scam tactics such as malware on your computer. ​In some cases, a criminal may dupe individuals into making a fraudulent money transfer themselves. You can take steps such as those outlined above to protect yourself from online banking fraud. 

What should I do if I suspect I am a victim of online banking fraud?

If you suspect that you are a victim of online banking fraud, the first step is to contact your bank. Your bank will be able to flag your account if necessary, and they will tell you the next steps to help minimize your loss.

How can I protect myself from online banking fraud?

You can help protect yourself from online banking fraud by using strong passwords, never sharing log-in credentials, verifying that you are speaking with an authorized representative, and using two-factor authentication.

How can I tell if my account has been compromised?

If you notice any unauthorized transactions or transfers, your bank account may have been compromised. If your bank notices unusual sign-in activity, it may send you a verification email or request additional details. Other signs your account may have been compromised include small unexplained payments, unexpected notifications from your bank, or account closure notifications. In extreme cases, a large transaction that empties your bank account indicates it has been compromised. 

How can I protect myself from phishing scams?

To protect yourself from phishing scams, don’t respond immediately or under pressure to requests for information. For example, if you receive a phone call or email demanding you verify your email information, instead of clicking the link or giving the information over the phone, you should contact your bank directly. You can use the bank phone number on the back of your credit card or listed on your statement to contact the bank directly. You can also check for notifications by navigating directly to the bank’s website or app.

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