Verifying a Financial Instutition's Website:
With more banks and credit unions offering online applications, the issue of verifying a website is becoming more important. It's easy for scammers to set up a website and make it look like it's part of a legitimate financial institution. For each post on a bank or credit union deal, I include the link to the FDIC or NCUA page that provides information on the institution. This information includes the primary website address. Here are the steps if you want to do your own verification:
Verifying a FDIC-Insured Bank's Website:
Search for a FDIC-insured bank at FDIC Bank Find. The FDIC entry for the bank will include the bank's primary website address.
Verifying a NCUA-Insured Credit Union's Website:
Search for a NCUA-insured credit union at NCUA's Find a Credit Union. Like the FDIC website, the NCUA will have a page for each credit union that includes the credit union's website address.
Verifying an ASI-Only-Insured Credit Union's Website:
Not all credit unions are federally insured by the NCUA. A small percentage of them only have private ASI insurance. These are still legitimate credit unions which are chartered by their state (The value of ASI insurance is another issue). To find if a website is in fact the website of an ASI-insured credit union, search for the credit union at the ASI database.
Sometimes the financial institution will have a secondary website that's not listed in the database of the FDIC or NCUA. A smart financial institution will include a link to this secondary website somewhere on its primary website. Notice the link to EmigrantDirect.com at the bottom of Emigrant Bank's primary website, Emigrant.com. If there is no link, you can call or email a bank using information listed at the primary bank's website to see if they can confirm a secondary website address.