Banking online is a great way to save time and hassle. You can bank from just about anywhere, and it’s really convenient to be able to pay bills and check balances with the touch of a button. But with great convenience comes great responsibility–you need to ensure that your transactions are always safe and secure.
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe when banking online:
-Only bank on secure websites that begin with “https”
-Never give out your personal information, such as your Social Security number or account number, over the phone or online
-Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software installed on your computer
-Be careful about opening emails from unknown senders, even if they appear to be from your bank
-If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, contact your bank immediately
Choose a Reputable Bank or Credit Union
The first step to safely banking online is to choose a reputable bank or credit union. Do some research to make sure that the organization is FDIC-insured and has a good reputation. Once you’ve found a few that fit the bill, take some time to compare the features and fees of each one to find the best fit for your needs.
When you’re ready to choose a bank, open an account and deposit some money. Once you have an account, you can start using the online features. Most banks will have a website where you can log in to view your account information, transfer money, and pay bills. Some banks also have mobile apps that you can use for banking on the go.
Once you’ve chosen a bank and set up your account, it’s time to start using the features safely. Follow these tips to make sure your banking transactions are secure.
Do Your Research on a Financial Institution’s Website
To ensure you’re using a secure banking site, do your research on the financial institution’s website before logging in. A secure website will have https:// in the URL address bar, which stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” The “s” at the end of https:// means the site is secure. You should also see a padlock icon, which indicates the site is secure.
If you don’t see https:// or the padlock icon, that means the site is not secure and you should not enter any sensitive information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number.
Create Strong and Unique Passwords
You should create strong and unique passwords for each of your online banking accounts. Your password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or easily accessible personal information like your birthdate.
Keep Your Computer Security Up-to-Date
Make sure your computer security is up-to-date before you start your transaction. This includes having the latest operating system, security patches, and antivirus software installed. This will help protect your computer from malware that could be used to steal your banking information.
You should also make sure to log out of your banking session when you are finished. This will help prevent someone else from accessing your account if they happen to get ahold of your computer.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi When Banking Online
You should also avoid using public Wi-Fi when banking online. Instead, use your mobile data or a secure, private Wi-Fi connection. Public Wi-Fi is often unsecure, which means that people can access your personal information if they’re on the same network.
Be Alert for Scams
You should also be aware of scams when you’re banking online. There are a lot of scams out there that try to trick you into giving away your personal information, so it’s important to be alert and not click on any links or enter any information unless you’re absolutely sure it’s from a trusted source.
If you’re ever unsure, you can always call your bank directly to ask if they’re trying to reach out to you. This way, you’ll know for sure whether or not the email or text message you received is legitimate.
There are also a few red flags to watch out for that may indicate a scam, such as messages that try to create a sense of urgency or demand that you act immediately. If you see anything suspicious, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and not respond.
Now that you know a few tips for banking online safely, put them into practice the next time you log in to your account. The more vigilant you are, the less likely you are to experience fraud or identity theft. And if you do suspect that something is not right, don’t hesitate to contact your bank immediately.