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Privacy & Security

Fraud Prevention FAQs

  • Hide How does Bank of America protect my accounts and identity?

    Bank of America takes the protection of your personal information very seriously. We value your trust, and we understand that handling your financial information with care is one of our most important responsibilities. Our policies, procedures and protections are always evolving to stay ahead of new strategies used by fraudsters.

    Confidentiality and the security of personal and financial information of our customers and clients is the highest priority at Bank of America. We have multiple layers of security protection in place to protect clients, customers, employees and our company. We have a sustainable cybersecurity program built on accountability, consistency and measurement.

    In addition, we have a strict code of ethics for all employees that requires confidential treatment of client information. Only those who need to know a client's financial information — because they provide services a client might need — are authorized to have access to it. All Bank of America employees must complete information protection training annually. Bank of America also maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to client information.

    If we believe an account is at risk for fraud, we will attempt to contact you using the contact information you’ve shared with us, so make sure that information is current. If we do contact you, please review and respond promptly.

    While our global information security team remains vigilant and monitors potential threats to help keep you safe, there’s a lot you can do, too. Various security pages on our site, for example Online Banking Security and Credit & Debit Card Security, contain specific information under the What you can do tab on the page. You should also familiarize yourself with our privacy notices and watch the short Keeping your financial information safe video from Better Money Habits.

    Together, we can help prevent, identify and resolve fraud events faster.

  • Show How can I help protect my accounts?

    One of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect your accounts is to take advantage of the resources we provide on our site. For example, our Online Banking Security and Credit & Debit Card Security pages contain specific information under the What you can do tab. You should also familiarize yourself with our privacy notices and watch the short Keeping your financial information safe video from Better Money Habits.

    Bank of America will never ask you to reply to an email with any personal information such as your Social Security number, ATM or PIN. Please review the FAQs for recognizing fraud for additional information about how you can make sure you’re receiving authentic communications from Bank of America (and what to do if you have any doubts).

    You should always approach unsolicited email containing urgent appeals for security or personal information with great caution. Be sure to confirm the validity of email messages that appear to come from trusted sources by carefully examining the email address itself, as well as the content within it.

    All email we send to you contains authentication markers (such as a digital signature), which help your email provider or software determine whether or not it is junk mail. If an email appears to be from Bank of America but ends up in your junk email folder, leave it there. (Note that if the email address we have on file for security alerts is one you automatically forward to another personal email account, it increases the likelihood that your email provider or software will incorrectly classify it as junk mail.)

    Other measures you can take include:

    • Create complex passwords and PINs not easily associated with you, memorize them and use multi-factor authentication (for example: a password plus a one-time authorization code) where available. Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts. Visit the What you can do tab on our Online Banking security page for tips on how to create strong passwords.
    • Question suspicious emails and never click on any link unless you’re absolutely certain it’s authentic. Bank of America will never ask you provide your Social Security number, ATM or debit card PIN or any other sensitive information in response to an email. (For more information about email fraud, view our FAQs about recognizing fraud.)
    • Download the Bank of America Mobile Banking app and allow push alerts for more secure communication about your accounts. Review and respond to alerts promptly. Keep your contact information, especially your cell phone number and email address, current. Turn on location services when making a purchase or signing in and allow location-based anti-fraud and security permissions.
    • Use your Security Center to manage your security options, add optional extra security (multi-factor authentication) to help verify your identity each time you sign in and more. Learn more about Security Center
    • Use the free ShopSafe® service if you have a Bank of America Visa or MasterCard account when you shop online. Temporary credit card and CVV numbers are generated so your card number remains completely private and protected. Plus, merchants can charge only the amount you authorize.
  • Show How can I help protect my identity?

    Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifiable information to commit fraudulent acts such as withdrawing money from your bank account, opening new credit cards, applying for loans or even gaining employment. The most common signs of identity theft include:

    • Unauthorized withdrawals from your account
    • Bills for unfamiliar debt or failure to receive bills
    • Suspicious charges on your account
    • New accounts or loans you didn’t apply for
    • Being denied credit unexpectedly
    • The IRS notifying you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for

    Here are some proactive steps you can take now to help protect yourself from identity theft:

    • Review your credit report frequently and carefully by requesting a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com
    • Download the Bank of America Mobile Banking app and allow push alerts for more secure communication about your accounts. Review and respond to alerts promptly. Keep your contact information, especially your cell phone number and email address, current. Turn on location services when making a purchase or signing in and allow location-based anti-fraud and security permissions.
    • Create complex passwords and PINs not easily associated with you, memorize them and use multi-factor authentication (for example: a password plus a one-time authorization code) when available each time you sign in to Online or Mobile Banking. Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts. Visit the What you can do tab on our Online Banking security page for tips on how to create strong passwords.
    • Equip your computer with comprehensive malware and virus protection software. We offer McAfee LiveSafe™ to protect your PCs, smartphones and tablets from viruses, malware and phishing in one subscription free to our clients for up to 12 months.
    • Consider using Trusteer Rapport™, browser-based security software from IBM. It will fix most malware if your computer is infected, and it warns you if you attempt to navigate to a risky site. We provide it at no charge to our clients. (Mac users: Please note that Mozilla Firefox is currently the only browser supported by Trusteer Rapport.)
    • Only download software or applications from well-known and trusted sources
    • Stay current with any operating system and software updates (sometimes called patches or service packs) for your computer and your internet browser
    • Never click on suspicious links in text messages or emails

    Various security pages on our site, for example Online Banking Security and Credit & Debit Card Security, contain specific information under the What you can do tab on the page. You should also familiarize yourself with our privacy notices and watch the short Keeping your financial information safe video from Better Money Habits.

    If you've been the victim of identity theft, we're here to help. If you have a credit or debit card with us, we'll cancel your card and issue a replacement immediately (you won’t be liable for any fraudulent activity). Our page on resolving identity theft has additional information and steps for you to follow that you should find helpful.

  • Show How can I help protect older family members and friends?

    Elder fraud is on the rise: The National Institute of Justice estimates that 5% of elderly Americans are victimized each year. While no age group is immune, older people often have considerable savings, and in some cases may be less familiar with new fraud techniques. The best offense against elder fraud is a good defense. Learn more about elder fraud and how to help protect your loved ones

  • Show How can I help protect my computer?

    Using your computer without taking proper precautions can leave you vulnerable to personal and financial information theft. It’s important for everyone to know how to safely shop online, use social media, download software and navigate through email.

    Here are some tips for protecting your computer:

    • Equip your computer with comprehensive malware and virus protection software. We offer McAfee LiveSafe™ free to our clients for 12 months. It proactively helps prevent computers from getting or maintaining an infection.
    • Consider using Trusteer Rapport™ browser-based security software from IBM. It will fix most malware if your computer is infected, and it warns you if you attempt to navigate to a risky site. We provide it at no charge to our clients. (Mac users: Please note that Mozilla Firefox is currently the only browser supported by Trusteer Rapport ™.)
    • Only download software or applications from well-known and trusted sources
    • Stay current with any operating system and software updates (sometimes called patches or service packs) for your computer and your internet browser. Avoid using free public Wi-Fi for financial transactions unless it includes Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2 security) enabling you to set up a secure password.
    • If you use online or cloud storage, be sure you understand its privacy and security policy and keep your access codes safe
    • Create complex passwords and PINs not easily associated with you, memorize them and use multi-factor authentication (for example: a password plus a one-time authorization code) where available. Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts. Visit the What you can do tab on our Online Banking security page for tips on how to create strong passwords.
    • Question suspicious emails and never click on any link unless you’re absolutely certain it’s authentic. We will never send you an email asking for your Online ID or Passcode. (For more information about email fraud, view our Recognizing fraud FAQs.)
    • Keep your home computer safe by using a secondary user account for all transactions, especially surfing the web. Sign on with your administrator account to create new users and install software.
    Various security pages on our site, for example Online Banking Security and Credit & Debit Card Security, contain specific information under the What you can do tab on the page. You should also familiarize yourself with our privacy notices and watch the short Keeping your financial information safe video from Better Money Habits.

    Various security pages on our site, for example Online Banking Security and Credit & Debit Card Security, contain specific information under the What you can do tab on the page. You should also familiarize yourself with our privacy notices and watch the short Keeping your financial information safe video from Better Money Habits.

  • Show How can I help protect my smartphone?

    Bank of America’s Mobile Banking service incorporates the convenience you want with industry-leading safety and security features that provide peace of mind. In addition to the steps we take to protect you, there are a number of steps you can take, too.

    The best way to defend a lost smartphone or any other mobile device against intruders is to take precautions while the phone is in your possession. This includes taking steps like protecting your data with a PIN, fingerprint or retinal/facial recognition when available on your device.

    Here are some other common-sense steps you can take to help protect yourself and the important information on your mobile device: 

    • Use McAfee LiveSafe™ to protect your PCs, smartphones and tablets from viruses, malware and phishing (we offer McAfee LiveSafe™ free to our clients for up to 12 months). Mobile security safeguards Android and iOS devices from data loss and theft.
    • Keep your operating system, antivirus software and applications up to date as recommended by the device manufacturer or mobile carrier
    • Only download apps from trusted sources like the Apple App Store or Google Play
    • Avoid using free public Wi-Fi for financial transactions unless it includes Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2 security) enabling you to set up a secure password
    • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services when you’re not using them
    • Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources
    • Don’t root or jailbreak your phone to gain access to more apps and functions. This not only voids your warranty, but also removes manufacturer built-in security and leaves your device open to malware attacks. It’s best to leave your phone or tablet as is.

  • Show How do I identify and avoid scams?

    Bank of America is committed to keeping you informed about ways you can easily confirm that you’re on the real Bank of America website or mobile app and that you’re receiving authentic emails and texts from Bank of America.

    Bank of America will never ask you to provide your Social Security number, ATM or debit card PIN or any other sensitive information in response to an email. If you receive a suspicious call, text or email from someone claiming to be Bank of America, do not respond and do not click links or open/download attachments. Instead, send it to abuse@bankofamerica.com and delete it. If you did provide personal or financial information, contact us immediately at 800.432.1000. See an example of a fraudulent email

    For more information about email fraud, view our FAQs about recognizing fraud.

  • Show What do I do if my card or checks were lost or stolen?

    You’re protected by Bank of America’s $0 Liability Guarantee: Fraudulent transactions made using Bank of America credit and debit cards are covered as long as you report them promptly; please visit our account and card security page for additional details.1

    If your card was lost or stolen, sign in to Online Banking or our Mobile Banking app immediately to report your card lost or stolen.

    If your checks have been lost or stolen, call us immediately at 800.432.1000 or visit a financial center (you can also schedule an appointment for faster service).

    1. Billing disputes (if you are dissatisfied with a product or service you paid for) are not included in our $0 Liability Guarantee for Fraud. The $0 Liability Guarantee covers fraudulent transactions made by others using your Bank of America consumer credit cards and consumer and small business debit and ATM cards. To be covered, report transactions made by others promptly, and don't share personal or account information with anyone. Access to funds next business day in most cases, pending resolution of claim. Consult client and account agreements for full details.

  • Show What do I do if I lost my mobile device?

    Bank of America’s Mobile Banking service incorporates the convenience you want with industry-leading safety and security features that provide peace of mind. In addition to the steps we take to protect you, there are a number of steps you can take, too.

    First and foremost, if you’ve lost your smartphone or mobile device, take these steps immediately:

    • Alert your mobile carrier
    • Alert Bank of America (and any other financial institution you access using your device)
    • Change any usernames and passwords that may have been stored on your mobile device
    • If you’re using any cloud-based services, sign in to them and disable remote access and alerts for any mobile apps you have linked to your missing phone or device
    • File a police report, if necessary

    The best way to defend a lost smartphone or any other mobile device against intruders is to take precautions while the phone is in your possession. This includes taking steps like protecting your data with a PIN or fingerprint sign-in (biometrics) and enabling remote phone-finder and data-wiping features.

    Here are some other common-sense steps you can take to help protect yourself and the important information on your mobile device.

    • Keep your operating system, antivirus software and applications up to date as recommended by the device manufacturer or mobile carrier
    • Only download apps from trusted sources like the Apple App Store or Google Play
    • Avoid public Wi-Fi for financial transactions
    • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services when you’re not using them
    • Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources
    • Don’t root or jailbreak your phone to gain access to more apps and functions. This not only voids your warranty, but also removes manufacturer built-in security and leaves your device open to malware attacks. It’s best to leave your phone or tablet as is.

  • Show What do I do if my identity has been stolen?

    Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifiable information to commit fraudulent acts such as withdrawing money from your bank account, opening new credit cards, applying for loans or even securing employment.

    The most common signs of identity theft include:
    • Unauthorized withdrawals from your bank account
    • Bills for unfamiliar debt or failure to receive bills
    • Suspicious charges on your accounts
    • New accounts or loans you didn’t apply for
    • Being denied credit unexpectedly
    • The IRS notifying you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for

    If you suspect your personal information has been compromised:
    • Contact us immediately to report fraudulent activity and close all accounts that were tampered with or fraudulently established
    • Consider filing a police report depending on the level of fraud, and ensure you have the report ready if needed for proof with creditors
    • Visit the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit for U.S. consumers, for step-by-step instructions, form letters and other resources for theft resolution
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by U.S. law enforcement agencies for investigations.
    • Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit report from each of the credit bureau reporting agencies by contacting them over the internet or by phone

    If you've been the victim of identity theft, we're here to help. If you have a credit or debit card with us, we'll cancel your card and issue a replacement immediately (you won’t be liable for any fraudulent activity). Our page on resolving identity theft has additional information and steps for you to follow that you should find helpful.

  • Show What do I do if I notice account activity that's not mine?

    If you notice activity on your account indicating a transaction made by someone other than you or an authorized user of that account, call us immediately at 800.432.1000.

    You’re protected by Bank of America’s $0 Liability Guarantee: Fraudulent transactions made using Bank of America credit and debit cards are covered by our $0 Liability Guarantee as long as you report them promptly; please visit our account and card security page for additional details.1

    The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit for U.S. consumers, offers step-by-step instructions, form letters and other resources for theft resolution. You may want file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a police report, depending on the level of fraud. You can also request credit monitoring services or a credit freeze from the credit bureaus.

    1. Billing disputes (if you are dissatisfied with a product or service you paid for) are not included in our $0 Liability Guarantee for Fraud. The $0 Liability Guarantee covers fraudulent transactions made by others using your Bank of America consumer credit cards and consumer and small business debit and ATM cards. To be covered, report transactions made by others promptly, and don't share personal or account information with anyone. Access to funds next business day in most cases, pending resolution of claim. Consult client and account agreements for full details.

  • Show What do I do if I got a suspicious email, text or phone call?

    Bank of America is committed to keeping you informed about ways you can easily confirm that you’re on the real Bank of America website or mobile app and that you’re receiving authentic emails and texts from Bank of America.

    Bank of America will never ask you to provide your Social Security number, ATM or debit card PIN or any other sensitive information in response to an email. If you receive a suspicious call, text or email from someone claiming to be Bank of America, do not respond and do not click links or open/download attachments. Instead, send it to abuse@bankofamerica.com and delete it.

    If you did provide personal or financial information, contact us immediately at 800.432.1000. Be sure to include any relevant details, such as whether the suspicious caller attempted to impersonate Bank of America and whether any personal or financial information was provided to the suspicious caller.

    For more information about email fraud, view our FAQs about recognizing fraud.

Additional resources