Online banking has never been easier. We can do almost every transaction wherever we are, whether we’re on-the-go or at home. While online banking is convenient, it doesn’t come without its fair share of risks. If you’re not careful, your identity and bank account information could be jeopardized. Learn the basics of keeping your banking secure:
Passwords are essential to protecting your online banking accounts. Without a strong one, you are at risk for fraud. When creating a password, make sure you’re using a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords will make you vulnerable to hackers who are skilled in cracking passwords based on your personal information, such as your date of birth or name, and common terms from pop culture and sports. Change your password regularly, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t just adding additional characters to your existing one. If you struggle to keep track of or remember your passwords, you can use a password manager, that will create and remember new and randomized passwords, so you don’t have to.
In general, you should adhere to basic security measures every time you access digital banking. Some are obvious, such as don’t share your password with anyone and be careful who can see your screen and keyboard. Some are good habits to pick up, like not accessing your digital banking accounts using public Wi-Fi. Public networks are easy for hackers to tap into and you can’t ensure your online activity is private. If you can, wait to access important platforms like your bank account from the security of your home network.
It is also very important to be able to recognize and avoid phishing scams. Phishing attacks are scams sent to you directly by a hacker attempting to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details. The scams are disguised as frequently used and trustworthy websites sent via SMS and email that tricks victims into clicking links or sharing sensitive information. Phishing emails and text messages are designed to impersonate the look and feel of a company you trust, and in some cases, could look identical to a website you frequently visit to access your services. They may look like they’re from a bank, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store. These messages often tell a story and create a sense of urgency to trick victims into clicking on a link, opening a message, or downloading an attachment.
Many people are not aware of phishing scams and may not notice one. To avoid falling victim to phishing attacks, you should always:
For an additional layer of security, you can use a one-time password (OTP), which serves as a second-factor authentication that is unique to your individual login. An OTP is a random password sent to your mobile device or generated by an app to help verify your identity and expires within minutes after you get it, making it ideal for sensitive digital activity such as banking. Many banks offer applications that make it easy for you to receive your OTP, making it as easy as possible for you to keep peace of mind.
In addition to taking the proper precautions in ensuring the security of your bank password, your bank takes measures to keep your information safe by encrypting your transactions. Encryption converts your data into an encoded form before it’s sent over the internet, stopping unauthorized users from reading the information.
While online banking comes with its own set of risks, there are many conveniences, including monitoring your balance to avoid fees, depositing checks, sending money to friends and family, and more. Make sure to take the necessary precautions to enjoy the benefits while keeping your information secure.