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For Immediate Release
January 24, 2018
ABA Media Contact: Sarah Grano
(202) 663-5470
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankers

Banks Stop $17 Billion in Fraud Attempts in 2016


​WASHINGTON — America’s banks prevented $9 out of every $10 of attempted deposit account fraud in 2016, according to the 2017 American Bankers Association Deposit Account Fraud Survey Report released today. Facing increasingly sophisticated fraud schemes, banks have responded by investing in new technologies and enhancing overall customer protections. 

“Fraud prevention never stops,” said James Chessen, executive vice president of ABA’s Center for Payments and Cybersecurity. “Banks are constantly monitoring for patterns and trends and quickly evolving their techniques to stay a step ahead of fraudsters.”

According to the survey, attempted fraud against bank deposit accounts reached $19.1 billion in 2016, up from $12.9 billion in 2014. Despite that 48 percent increase over the two-year period, industry fraud losses only rose 16 percent to $2.2 billion. Depending on the circumstances, most consumers are fully protected from ever facing any of those losses.
Debit card fraud accounted for 58 percent — or $1.3 billion — of losses for the industry, which is consistent with the previous survey in 2014. However, check fraud (35 percent of fraud losses) has increased, particularly at larger banks, marking the first increase in this category since 2008.

 “Fraud moves like water trying to find cracks in the system,” said Chessen. “We have long anticipated that fraudsters would change their tactics once chip card technology was implemented in the U.S. The survey shows attacks have shifted more to other payment platforms like checks and online transactions.” 

The remaining 7 percent of fraud losses for banks were attributable to online banking and other electronic transactions, such as wire and ACH payments that were not initiated online.

While counterfeit cards remained the leading type of debit card fraud, card-not-present’s share increased to 30 percent of debit fraud loss from 15 percent two years ago. Sixty-five percent of respondents experienced gas pump skimming attempts in 2016, while 54 percent experienced ATM skimming attempts. The most common check fraud categories were counterfeit checks and return deposited items.

ABA has been tracking deposit account fraud since 1993.

The ABA survey was conducted between June and September 2017 for year-end 2016 data. The survey report is based on responses from 138 banks of all sizes.

To partner with your bank in the fight to stop fraud, ABA recommends consumers follow these important steps:

  • Don’t share your information.
Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.
  • Shred sensitive papers.
Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  • Monitor your accounts regularly.
Rather than waiting for your monthly statement, use online banking to monitor transactions on your account regularly. If you see a fraudulent transaction, notify your bank immediately.
  • Sign up for text alerts.
Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
  • Protect your mobile device.
Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially from senders you don’t know.
  • Watch out for missing mail.
Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.
  • Monitor your credit report.
Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at
  • Protect your computer.
Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
Note: The price of the full 203-page report is $400 for ABA members and $800 for non-members. For more information or to order, call 1-800-BANKERS or visit
The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $17 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $13 trillion in deposits and extend more than $9 trillion in loans.
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