Isn’t modern digital banking great? You can set up your digital banking account so that every time a transaction goes through you get an email or text message to your smartphone. This is a great way to stay up-to-date on what is happening with your finances and to ensure your account is not accessed by someone else.
If this were ever to happen, some features allow you to report fraudulent activities so that your card is blocked immediately.
Even so, using online banking will always come with security risks, and as such, it is essential for you to take into consideration a few precautions that can make the process simpler and safer.
Apparently, the safety of your online banking is directly linked to your password. The password you choose needs to be one that is safe and secure, not something that anyone is going to guess. Now, a friend who is no longer a friend might be able to guess at things like your mother’s maiden name or your birthday, the town in which you were born. But a hacking program on a computer can guess slightly more sophisticated passwords that most people think are safe.
People might use the same word, their mother’s maiden name, but substitute different letters for characters that look similar. It is one of the first things that a hacking program will check. Most banks today require you to have something like a lowercase letter, uppercase letter, number, and possibly a symbol. It is meant to add more variety, but again, most people will only add lowercase and the uppercase to the same word, substitute a letter or a symbol for one of the letters in the word.
The best thing you can do is to pick four or five random words which are unrelated in any way. Selecting the words elephant, clown, circus, and popcorn obviously isn’t going to work as well because a computer program will search for similar words and these are all related to the same theme. However, pancake, elephant, calendar, underwear, are probably much less related.
Avoid ever using features on your phone or your computer, especially a public network, where you remain logged in automatically. You don’t want to make it any easier for someone by already providing your password. When you type in your password each time, it might seem inconvenient, but it is indeed better than having someone steal your information, well worth the extra 10 seconds it takes out of your day. Never take advantage of websites that remember your password. Always decline this feature.
If at all possible, avoid checking your bank account using public Internet, like an unsecured network open at Starbucks. If you take advantage of unsecured networks offered through local cafés, grocery stores, or hotels, you never know who else is out there using the same Internet, and you make it much easier for people to access your information. If you’re doing something like online forex trading, this can end up in disaster.
Just like having a regular bank account, online banking doesn’t mean that you should go about your life, spending money, and never checking the information. Always check your bank account statement even if you haven’t been spending anything. Just because you haven’t used your debit card or paid for a bill over the last two weeks doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check your activity just to be on the safe side. So make it a rule to periodically login from home and double check that everything is fine. Report anything suspicious as soon as it happens. Be cognizant of the fact that sometimes people might steal information and mimic the same transactions that you do. So it might take longer for you to notice four separate charges at a gas station where you don’t usually get gas.
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