Online banking is a convenient and secure way to manage your accounts when handled responsibly. Over 69 million Americans use online banking and cyberattacks are becoming more common in today’s world. Protecting yourself online is as important as ever whether you’re managing accounts or shopping. Below are a few tips to guard yourself from potential threat.
Keep your login information secure.
The easiest way criminals can gain access to your accounts is by stealing (or guessing) your login information. Your username is key to your online identity and it’s important to pick one you can remember. Never use a social security number as a username or password.
Using a strong password is vital for protecting your accounts. A few tips of a creating a safe password:
- Change your password frequently
- Avoid re-using former passwords
- Don’t write down or store your login information anywhere someone can access
- Avoid common phrases, names, or dates someone could guess
- Consider using a password manager – a program to generate and store passwords in an encrypted database
Additionally, sharing your login information with others is risky. Giving someone else access to your account means if they mishandle your login information by forgetting to log out of their computer or losing a post-it your information is written on, your account is in jeopardy of being accessed by the wrong person.
Be aware of scams.
Your financial institution will never call, email, or text you unprompted asking for personal information or account details. If you receive a suspicious email from an unknown sender regarding your information, do not click links, open any attachments, or respond.
Scammers can attempt to access your account by sending a fake email that looks similar to an email from your financial institution with links to log in to your account. Instead of clicking links, protect yourself by always typing in your financial institution’s website to access online banking.
Any website where a financial transaction takes place (Online Banking, checking out when shopping online, etc.), there should be a padlock icon to the left of the URL and the URL should read “https” and not just “http.”
Related post: Protecting Your Personal Information Online
Keep your computer up-to-date and protected.
While these periodic updates may be annoying, installing the latest edition of your operating system will often include valuable security upgrades that could prevent vicious malware. Take advantage of anti-virus software to safeguard your computer and update it regularly to protect from potential threats.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi or public computers for banking.
While free Wi-Fi is nice, there are risks associated with using public Wi-Fi. Weakened protection of free Wi-Fi means it’s easier for hackers to gain access to these public airwaves and steal your private information. To better protect yourself, accessing anything regarding your information under free Wi-Fi is not advised, especially online banking.
Since anyone can log in to public computers with limited security, they are an easy target for hackers. While it’s not recommended, if you need to use a public computer to access your accounts, keep your information safe by logging out of online banking when you’re finished, closing the browser used, and clear the browser’s history.
Additional resource: How to Delete Browsing History
Taking action and implementing these tips will help provide you a safer online banking experience. As technology grows and evolves, unfortunately so do the threats. You can protect yourself by being vigilant. Monitor your accounts for potential fraud and if you notice any unauthorized transactions, notify your financial institution immediately.