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  • Writer's pictureKevin Shuller, CFA, CFP

5 Intermediate Tips to avoid bank fraud

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

One of the benefits of working with young families is that most of my clients grew up with computers and cell phones. We elder millennials have a bit more skepticism when it comes to cyber security. We don’t fall for tricks like e-mailed links that say “Hey, check this out!!!1!”

I have received alerts from two different banks in the past week about the same scam. The scam involves you Zelleing money to yourself to avoid having your bank account drained. Hopefully, if you get a call like that, your red flag alarm goes off. My advice for the actor who plays Oliver Putnam? Don't Zelle yourself, Short. Here's a short video explaining the scam.

We apologize for the Martin Short joke. Those responsible have been sacked.

It’s easy to find basic tips to secure your life. To be fair, they are necessary for the right audience. Anyone with co-workers in their 50s has seen a yellow Post-it clinging to the bottom of a monitor that says ‘Password7.’

I want to cover a few tips a little more advanced than the ones your Grandma will read to you from the page she tore out of Reader’s Digest.

  • Check e-mail addresses VERY carefully. Yes, it’s easy to see that something is wrong if you get an e-mail from However, it would be tougher to spot an issue if it came from Support@microsoft.corn. If someone asks you for personal information, carefully check the e-mail.

  • Never share your password or a one-time passcode with someone who claims to be from your bank. They don’t need your password or OTP. If they are from the bank, they already have access to your accounts. They should just be verifying your identity. If they ask for the answers to your security questions, that is far more likely to be legitimate.

  • Your boss doesn’t need you to buy gift cards. I have never had a vendor who needed to be paid with Xbox credits.

  • Use a password manager. I’ll be going more in-depth with this one in a future post. It’s a no-brainer. I like LastPass. 1Password is very good, too. It doesn’t matter which one you use. Just use one.

My favorite fraud avoidance tip is rarely on these lists, though. If someone calls you claiming to be from the bank, thank them, hang up on them, and call the bank back at the number on the back of your credit card or ATM card.

It’s too easy to spoof a phone number for an incoming call. You shouldn’t trust caller ID to verify that you are talking to someone from the bank. If you initiate the call to a phone number that you know is the bank, you are on safer ground.

Do you have any other intermediate-level tips you want to share? Please leave them in the comments below to help everyone out.

Kevin Shuller is the Founder/CIO of Cedar Peak Wealth Advisors. This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.

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