How to Protect Your Information Online
Online banking is easy, simple, and convenient. However, there are potential risks that come with online banking. Cybercrime is on the rise, and fraudsters are waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. That’s why it’s essential to practice safe online banking.
CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself when banking online is to create strong passwords. Your password should be at least 8 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using common words or phrases as your password, such as “password” or “123456”. Instead, use something unique and difficult to guess.
USE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
An extra layer of security that you can use to protect your online banking accounts is two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an additional step to the login process by requiring you to enter a code sent to your email or phone before granting access to your account. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if someone manages to get your password.
ALWAYS USE A SECURE INTERNET CONNECTION
When you’re accessing online banking, always make sure you are doing so on a secure internet connection. Avoid logging in to your online bank account when connected to public Wi-Fi or when using an unsecured network. Instead, use a private, secure connection such as your home Wi-Fi network or a mobile data plan.
KEEP YOUR DEVICES UP-TO-DATE
Another way to ensure online banking safety is to keep your devices up-to-date. Software updates regularly include security patches and fixes that address vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could take advantage of. Be sure to keep your computer, phone, or tablet updated with the latest security patches and anti-virus software.
BE ALERT TO PHISHING SCAMS
Phishing scams involve criminals sending emails or other messages that appear to be from trusted companies, asking for personal and financial information. To protect yourself from phishing scams, never click on any links or open any attachments from unknown senders. If you receive a suspicious email, delete it or contact your bank directly to confirm its authenticity.
MONITOR YOUR ACCOUNTS REGULARLY
Lastly, it’s important to monitor your online bank accounts regularly. Regularly checking your bank accounts helps you spot any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity. If you notice anything unusual, report it to your bank immediately.
Keeping your online banking account safe requires a combination of good security habits and the proper use of technology. By following these tips you can ensure that your financial information remains secure.
For more information on online banking safety, take a look at these resources:
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission resources for online, privacy, and ID Theft and other materials
IRS ID Theft
IRS Tax Fraud Alerts
Equifax Breach 2017