These days, banking online is a pretty common practice. As of 2018, 73% of U.S. consumers reported using online banking (on a desktop or laptop), while 59% utilized mobile banking (on a smartphone or tablet). And given current stay-at-home measures, those numbers can only have gone up.
As with so many things that become commonplace, users of online banking can become complacent about their safety while accessing the bank’s website or mobile app. This is something that hackers count on. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to take too much effort to keep it from happening to you.
To keep yourself safer while using mobile or online banking:
-Choose a good password
-Find out about your bank’s online security
-Bank online at home
-Look out for scams
Protect Your Password
This should be a standard practice for you with any online activity, really. A short, easy-to-guess password is one of the simplest ways for hackers to gain access to someone’s online account. To keep your bank account safe, come up with a long, complex password that would be hard for someone to guess. And just for an added level of protection, change your password periodically to keep a hacker from catching up.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Bank’s Security Measures
While breaches can still happen, you can be sure that your bank is making every effort it can to stay ahead of hackers. And they want you to know all about those efforts.
Access Your Account While on a Private Network
Getting free wi-fi can be wonderful. But it is not necessarily the safest way to go about accessing your online bank account. Public wi-fi networks may be convenient, but they are notoriously insecure. So, in order to stop any of your information from being intercepted, it’s best to go online using whatever secure private network you have set up at your home or office. (Complete with strong virus protection on your desktop and devices, of course.)
Keep yourself in the loop about what’s going on with your bank and your account by requesting notifications. Whether by text or email, such notifications can alert you to suspected unauthorized access, data breaches, and anything else that could compromise your money and personal information. That way, if anything does happen, you can be ready to act right away.
Keep an Eye out for Scams
With the official notifications and other communications that you get from your bank, you should be able to recognize a phony when you see it. Phishers and smishers (email and text scammers, respectively) love to pretend they’re financial institutions and scare people into thinking that their account has been breached.
What scammers aren’t always good at is English grammar, or faking authentic-looking logos or URLs. Beyond recognizing those signs of scam emails or texts, you can verify the owner behind a suspicious email or text with an email lookup or reverse phone lookup. Either search could help you determine if the communication is legitimate or fraudulent.
For more tips and advice to keep yourself safe and secure when you’re online, check out the articles on the PeopleFinders blog.
Image attribution: Photo by Andrey Popov – www.shutterstock.com