I was talking with my coworker, rejoicing that pay day was well on it’s way. I told her that I loved to log on to my online banking to plan how to allocate my money.
My coworker shuddered. “I don’t “do” online banking. It’s not safe! I don’t want my banking information out there for everyone to see”. She went on to tell me about a friend’s horror story; the friend had experienced online banking fraud, whereby somebody hacked her online bank account and transferred money to their own.
I was taken aback. It’s not easy to hack an online bank account if the owner of said account is smart about it. It is easier to have the bank card physically and guess the pin code, in my opinion.
There are many things that you can do to protect your online banking endeavors.
Even when you are using your own PC, log out of your accounts after using them. Usually you will automatically be logged out within 5-10 minutes of inactivity, but it’s still a good habit to get into. This should be practiced in more than just your bank account online; log out of email accounts, social media accounts, and any other activities.
Don’t Access Banking Information From Your Phone
I actually had a friend who lost her purse. Her entire bag. Her phone was in her purse, as was her identification and some other belongings. She was panicked because on her banking app on her phone, her account number was saved. She had an easy-to-guess password.
Fortunately, her bag was turned in to a lost and found and she got it back a week later, but if her bag had been stolen, it would have been easy for the thief to hack into her mobile banking app and drain her accounts.
Don’t Pick an Obvious Password
That brings me to this point. Don’t choose the last four digits of your phone number, your birth date, or anything along the lines of 1234 or 4321.
Shy away from your last name and other obvious answers. When it comes to online banking, ensure that your password has a capital letter and a number.
Use Only Your Personal Computer
Don’t go to the library and access your online banking there, and don’t do it at work either. Do your online banking from your personal computer only. If you access your online baking information from a shared computer, you may forget to log out, or the computer may not be secure.
Access Banking Only at Home
Instead of taking your laptop to Starbucks and doing your banking there, complete it at home before you leave. This just adds an extra layer of security in case somebody is watching over your shoulder in a public place.
Do Not Save your Baking Information
While saving form data is nice in that you don’t have to pull out your account number or bank card every time you’d like to access your accounts, it reduces your security substantially.
Keep in mind that if your account number is saved, anyone who cares to try to hack your account only has to guess your password. You’re making it easy for them. Passwords really aren’t that hard to guess for most people, so to add an extra layer of protection, don’t save your information.
Protecting yourself online is important no matter what you are doing, but it is even more so when we’re looking at online banking. There is fraudulent activity everywhere, and the openness of the internet makes it substantially easier for information thieves to access personal information and accounts.
Follow these steps to be ultra secure in your online banking.