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Author: Dave Rowland

The smart word on PIN security

As the world becomes ever more digitized, we like to think we’re pretty savvy when it comes to the type of risk we face when banking both online and offline.

However, the fact is that scammers are always trying to think one step ahead in the race to unlawfully access our personal banking details. Using sophisticated and some tried and true methods, they target weakness in both systems and our daily habits. They’ll stop at nothing, it seems, to compromise our PIN and gain access to our money.

So what can we do? It’s quite simple really. 

I’ve put together my top tips when it comes to keeping your PIN safe.

1. Don't write  it down

Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people still keep a written record of their PIN in their wallet or on their phone, just in case they forget. By remembering your PIN and discarding any physical evidence of it, you make it that much harder to crack.

2. Choose your PIN carefully

Greater ATMs allow you to select a new PIN (provided you remember your current one!) Make sure you don’t use anything obvious, such as numbers related to birth-dates, addresses, anniversaries, or number combinations printed on your bank card, etc. 

3. Don't double-up

If you’re selecting a new PIN, make sure you don’t use an existing PIN that you use on another device. By using the same numbers for all the PINs and login codes in our lives, we make it easier for ourselves to remember, but we also introduce a single point of failure – if that one PIN is compromised, a scammer would have access to all of our sensitive information.

4. Be guarded with your PIN

Never give out your banking PIN to anyone who asks for it. EVER! No bank or financial institution (The Greater included) will ever call you to ask you to confirm your PIN. Think about it – it doesn’t make sense – if it’s really your bank on the other end of the phone, shouldn’t they have your PIN on file? Also, whenever you’re entering your PIN at an ATM, just be aware of your surroundings. One of the simplest ways scammers can get hold of your PIN is by simply monitoring ATM locations, so cover the keypad with your hand just to be safe.

5. Keep your screen clean

People who do a lot of online banking should also be aware that by constantly entering in the same series of numbers on your smartphone or tablet screen, you could be setting yourself up for a fall. When you enter your PIN, your fingers will leave a pattern of smudge marks on the screen that could make it all too easy for a scammer, should they be able to get hold of your device. Do yourself a favour – give your smart-device screens a wipe-down at least once a week.

6. Limit your PIN use

A simple way to both improve the convenience of your payments experience while reducing the amount of times you have to use your PIN in public is to sign up for a card that uses contactless technology, such as Visa payWave. The Greater now offers payWave on both Debit and Credit Cards, meaning that you can avoid entering your PIN in public for purchases under $100. The less exposure you give your PIN, the lower your chance of having it compromised.

7. Speak up, speak early

If for any reason you believe your PIN may have been compromised, it’s important to let your financial institution know as soon as possible. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

At The Greater, we take the security of our customer’s personal information extremely seriously, so you can be assured that banking with us is as safe as houses.

However, if we all follow the above precautions and incorporate them into our routines, we reduce our risk dramatically for very little effort.

If you’d like to know more about keeping your money safe, or would like more information from The Greater on fraud and security matters, check out our website hub here, or take a peak at our online video series here.

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