The rapid advancements in technology have given rise to a new breed of fraudsters intent on capturing sensitive, personal and banking information. Criminal syndicates are continually finding ways of extracting personally identifiable data such as ID numbers, social security numbers, address information, bank account numbers and passwords. However, banks and other financial institutions employ the services of data protection experts and IT gurus to continually combat the efforts of criminals.
You can employ any number of tips, tricks and banking strategies to maintain the integrity of your personal banking information, thereby diminishing the likelihood that you too will be hacked. The first tip to safety in online banking is awareness. Every time you login to your accounts, you should be fully aware of the risks.
Online Banking Transactions Tips
The following expert guide to safety in online banking transactions will serve you well now, and well into the future:
- If you are banking online via PC, desktop or mobile you will want to be using the very best antivirus software. Antivirus software serves as your first line of defense against hackers, criminals and other data breaches.
- Username and password information should always be kept confidential at all times. This security tip has been drummed into our heads ad nauseam. The longer and more complex your password, the better. Avoid common usernames and passwords such as your name, your pet’s name, your high school, your car etc. Your password should ideally be randomly generated, with a mix of uppercase & lowercase letters, symbols, underscores and so forth. And of course – change your password regularly and never share your personal banking information with anyone.
- Take note that all funds you have invested with a bank in the US are insured up to the value of $250,000 by the US Treasury. This is known as FDIC insurance. Provided the sum total of your deposits does not exceed $250,000 at anyone bank, you are covered in the event of fraud, or bankruptcy. Be sure that your bank is FDIC insured so that you too can enjoy this coverage.
- Always perform monthly bank reconciliations with your accounts. If you notice that your balance is not what it’s supposed to be, and money is missing from your account, contact your bank immediately to have this investigated or reported. It is possible that credit card details or bank account information has been compromised and the longer this goes unnoticed, the more theft takes place. Fortunately, you are insured against all forms of theft from your credit card and your bank account.
- A common scam that takes place is that of e-mails being sent to you, requesting you to login to your account. If the e-mail is not from your bank, and you cannot verify this with 100% accuracy, never input your personal identifiable information onto any third-party website. Many scam sites have been able to replicate official bank sites, in the hopes of getting unsuspecting customers to enter their account details.
- Request information about the security features offered by your banking institution. Things like general security, passwords and encryption paramount. Once you have completed your online banking transactions, be sure to log out of your account, close your browser, and clear your cache.
- When banking over the Internet, learn where you can get assistance from banking regulators, understand your consumer rights, validate the legitimacy of the online bank and safeguard the integrity of your personal account information.
While these tips will not guarantee 100% safety and security with online banking, they will certainly go a long way towards preventing you from becoming a victim of fraud. By staying ahead of the pack, you will be better served in terms of online banking safety.
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Brett Chatz is a graduate of the University of South Africa, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with Economics and Strategic management as his major subjects. Nowadays Brett contributes from his vast expertise for the globally renowned spread betting and CFD trading company – Intertrader.