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FBI warns of mobile banking app scams

Mobile banking
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 07:59:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mobile banking apps are convenient and easy to use, especially with more people staying at home.

According to the FBI, data shows a 50% surge in mobile banking since the start of 2020.

But cyber criminals are taking note of the popularity. That's why the FBI is warning of two different cyber traps targeting customers using banking apps.

App-based banking trojans

This is malware that disguises itself as something else, like a game or a flashlight app. Once a banking trojan is downloaded, the problems begin when a user opens a banking app.

According to the FBI, the trojan creates a fake page and overlays it on top of the real banking app. Then, when a consumer enters his or her bank credentials, the crooks are able to swipe the information. Often, people do not even realize they've been compromised.

Fake banking apps

These may look exactly like banks' real apps, tricking consumers into entering login credentials.

U.S. security research organizations found there were 65,000 fraudulent apps on major app stores in 2018.

Here's what you can do to outsmart the fraudsters:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources, such as official app stores or directly from bank websites
  • Create unique passwords for banking accounts that are at least eight characters long
  • Don't store passwords in an insecure app like a notepad
  • Use two-factor authentication to secure accounts
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