Scambook Offers Consumers Tips for Handling Cyberattacks on Banks

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A consumer advocate is warning everyone to allow more time for online banking transactions amid a wave of cyberattacks on financial institutions.

Scambook, which runs an online site that aims to help users resolve complaints against companies, suggests people give themselves an extra three to five days to pay bills in order to avoid late fees and other consequences of delays that can result when digital assaults render online and mobile banking inoperable.

Some of the nation's biggest financial firms, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and American Express, have endured attacks in recent weeks that have disrupted service.

The al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, a group of hacktivists who have claimed responsibility for the attacks, said in an email Tuesday it would continue its campaign until all versions of a trailer for an anti-Muslim film are removed from YouTube.

Companies whose websites have bogged down in the attacks have said there is no evidence the attacks have endangered accounts.

Still, Scambook says consumers may have concerns. "It's kind of alarming to discover that the bank you trust is being hacked," Miranda Perry, a writer at Scambook, told American Banker. "A lot of people may be wondering what they can do to secure themselves."

Besides building in time for transactions, Scambook suggests that online banking customers change their passwords every three months, check account activity daily, sign up to be alerted by email or text message of withdrawals and transfers, and bank only from a private computer that has the latest security software installed.

Perry says she hopes the suggestions will give consumers "a little peace of mind."

Scambook is an online complaint resolution company. It accepts complaints from consumers against companies and charges the companies fees to resolve the disputes. Companies can either subscribe to the service or pay per resolved incident. Scambook has resolved roughly $10 million in disputes since its founding in 2011.

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