Online banking is extremely convenient, especially as we all live such busy lives, but it comes with certain risks. Here are a few tips to minimize the risks to your finances and bank safely online.
If your bank requires you to access your online accounts with a user-generated password choose one that is strong. Make your password long, a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and include special characters. Avoid using common words or phrases and never create a password that contains your name, initials, your date of birth, or social security number. If it is possible to do so, change your password regularly.
If your bank asks you to answer a standard security question it’s worth noting the answer you give doesn’t have to be a real one – as long as you can remember it.
Security software, these days, is essential; at the very least, make sure you have a firewall turned on and you are running antivirus software. This will help protect your device from Trojans, keyloggers, and other forms of malware that could be used to access your financial information.
Your bank will never send you an email asking you to provide your login details. Don’t be fooled into doing so. If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank and asks for such details treat it with suspicion as it may be a phishing attempt to trick you into providing personal information. Be aware of links in emails that appear to be from your bank, too. When you log into your account, the sender will steal your username and password, gaining access. If you receive such emails, pass them onto your bank so that they can investigate further and prevent others from falling victim to such crimes.
Always access your bank account by typing the address into your browser.
If you are contacted by your bank on the phone they may ask you a security question, which is perfectly normal; however they should never ask you for your password or PIN – they may ask for certain letters or numbers, sure, but never the whole thing.
Always access your accounts from a secure location; it is best to connect to your bank using computers and networks you trust.
It is good practice to log out of your online banking session when you have finished. You may also want to clear your browser history at the end of each session.
Finally, it goes without saying that it’s good practice to carefully review your bank statement each month to ensure there aren’t any unauthorized transactions. While you have unlimited access to your account online, it’s also worth looking at it on a regular basis to see if there are any anomalies. If so, check with your bank immediately.