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Safe Banking

How to protect your bank account

May 17, 2024
min read

Are you doing all you can to keep your accounts safe? We're sharing some security best practices you can follow.

At Achieva, we’re continually evolving our security practices to better protect our customers. One recent change we’ve made is eliminating the use of Secret Phrases.

Security Phrases were used to verify that emails from Achieva really came from us. Customers would select a specific phrase, and we would include it in the email subject line.

As we’ve evolved our security practices, Secret Phrases have become obsolete. And over the past couple of years, we have stopped requiring customers to set up Secret Phrases.

Now, we are removing the feature altogether in favour of more secure verification methods.

Starting on May 23, 2024, any notifications sent via email will no longer include Secret Phrases in the subject line. We encourage our customers to set up alternative security measures, such as two-factor authentication and account alerts.

With that in mind, what are the best ways to protect your bank account?

We’re covering the most effective security practices you can use.

Identify phishing emails

One of the main ways hackers get access to your bank account is through phishing emails.

First, what is a phishing email?

It’s an attempt to steal your personal information—like your login credentials, credit card, or Social Insurance Number (SIN)—through an email that directs you to a harmful website.

But it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a phishing email and a legitimate one. Here’s how to do it:

Look at the sender’s email closely

You’ve just received an email from someone you think you know—but how can you be sure?

Try to confirm the sender’s identity to see whether that email is legitimate.

Even if the email address matches the one in your contacts, the person’s account may have been compromised.

If you’re uncertain, look up the phone number for the company or the person reaching out to you and call them to verify if they sent that email.

Anytime you receive an email with an urgent request—asking you to send money or provide sensitive information—verify who sent the message first.

Hover over a link before clicking it

Before you click on any links within an email, make sure you inspect the link first. You can do so by hovering your cursor over the link—the URL will reveal where it leads.

The website may look familiar at first, but take a closer look. Are there any misspelled words or unusual domain extensions (such as a website ending in .org instead of .ca)?

The link could take you to a website that’s cleverly designed to steal your login information by posing as your bank or an online store.

Double-check before you click any links in emails.

Watch out for typos

Most of us make typos by mistake—but you can’t say the same about scammers.

You'll often find typos in phishing emails because they:

  • Can bypass spam filters. Many email providers have spam filters that will trigger based on specific words. By intentionally misspelling these words, scammers try to get around these filters.
  • Make the email seem more “trustworthy”. Few of us have perfect grammar, especially when we’re sending a quick email to a friend or colleague. Scammers may intentionally include typos to make the email seem more authentic.
  • Help scammers find targets. A scammer might use typos to filter out people who won’t fall for their tricks. Someone who doesn’t notice typos may be more likely to click a harmful link.

Now that you know how to identify phishing emails, you can ensure your personal information won't fall in the wrong hands.

Next up, we're covering more ways you can keep your bank account safe:

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

If you want to take your account security one step further, you can set up two-factor authentication.

Passwords can be stolen or guessed - with 2FA, in addition to your password, you’ll require a code to log in.

2FA puts another barrier between hackers and your account. Here’s how to add 2FA to your Achieva account through Online Banking or our Mobile App.

Create a secure password

By strengthening your password, you can:

  • Lower the risk of identity theft and fraud
  • Make sure your personal information isn’t seen by other people
  • Prevent hackers from guessing your login credential

How do you create a strong password? Make it hard to guess by including uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The longer the password, the better.

You might be tempted to create the same password for all your accounts, a practice known as password recycling. That way, you only need to remember one.

But you don’t need just one secure password—you need multiple.

If one of your passwords is leaked in a data breach, a hacker could use it to access your other accounts.

Managing multiple passwords can be tricky. Luckily, there’s a solution:

A password manager keeps all your login credentials in one place, so you don’t have to remember them all. They can even help you generate strong passwords. This allows you to increase the security of your accounts with ease.

Add a PIN to your mobile account

What might happen if a hacker hijacks your phone number?

Given how many accounts are linked to your phone number, the ramifications of this can be devastating.

If you forget your password, you’ll typically use your email or phone number to recover the account.

Once a hacker takes control of your phone number, they can use this account recovery feature to change passwords on other accounts, including your bank account.

Protect yourself by increasing the security of your mobile account. With a PIN, your mobile provider will require a unique password before you can make changes to your SIM card or phone number.

To set it up, all you need to do is call your mobile carrier and add a passcode or PIN to your account.

Monitor your bank statements

If you don’t make a habit of watching your transactions, it’s easy for fraudsters to take money that you may not even notice is missing.

One technique that hackers will use is withdrawing a very small amount of money—say, $1 or $10—just to see if you notice.

And if you don’t, they’ll start withdrawing progressively larger funds.

Be skeptical of every transaction you don’t recognize.

Set up account alerts

Achieva customers can monitor their account activity at all times with alerts. You can set up account alerts so you’ll instantly be notified of certain transactions.

We’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to set up account alerts.

Call your financial institution

As soon as you notice suspicious charges on your account, let your financial institution know ASAP. This is the first step in taking back control of your account.

If you’re an Achieva customer, call us as soon as you notice something isn’t right.

How Achieva keeps you safe

In our increasingly digital world, online banking is faster and more convenient than ever.

But as we come to rely more and more on technology, it’s crucial that we keep our digital information safe.

Cybercrime is surging. You don’t need to own a major corporation to be the target of a cyberattack. It can happen to anyone, regardless of your age or income.

Achieva is committed to protecting our customers. As a financial institution, we take your account security very seriously.  

Our security practices are continuously monitored for effectiveness and updated to meet the highest regulatory standards.

If you’d like to open an account or get more information about our security practices, contact us today!

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