The Internet has simplified so many aspects of life and made many daily transactions instantaneous. It can be easy to take these seemingly small comforts for granted. How many times did you sign up online, log into your online bank account, and immediately transfer money from your savings account to your checking account to squander new clothes or pay for unexpected expenses?
Going to the bank is no longer the duty that it once was. Now the bank comes to you. It is on your laptop and your smartphone and stays open 24 hours, provided you have an Internet connection. From saving trees and customer time to reducing overdrafts and identity theft, online banking has simplified the way most people manage their finances today.
As long as you stay alert and make smart decisions, you can make a great effort to ensure your online safety.
Here are four tips to help protect your money:
Protect Your Password
Use a secure password with a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters; one that is not easy to guess. Password123, qwerty (among the most common passwords), your name, phone number, address or the names of children and pets are easy to guess. Avoid them and stay safe online. Change your password frequently, and do not save it on paper and never share a password with someone. Use a secure password manager if you tend to forget your password.
If you receive a call from your bank that asks you to provide or confirm the details of your account, make sure it is not fraudulent. You can even receive fraudulent emails requesting such information. Never click on a pre-formulated link to access your bank account, but enter the URL in the browser. If you enabled autocompletion for web forms, you must deactivate them on your bank’s website.
Use a Secure / Encrypted Connection
Do not access public, unencrypted Wi-Fi connections to your bank account. Do not log on to public or shared computers on your bank’s website, and always log out when you complete the transaction. If you are forced to use a public connection, change your password as soon as possible from your own device (PC, laptop or smartphone). If possible, use a VPN service to access your account.
Another smart step is to use a separate and dedicated browser to access your online bank account. If you use Chrome or Explorer to navigate in general, use Firefox for your banking transactions.
Use Your Bank’s Security Options
Most banks offer a two-step verification process, such as One Time Password (OTP) for a more secure online banking. Register to receive notifications of transactions/email alerts from your bank and follow them. Too often, users filter these messages in a separate folder or archive them without reading. Make sure you do not do it. Check your bank statements regularly and contact your bank if something is wrong.
Protect Your Devices
To strengthen your online security, make sure that all your devices are protected against viruses, hackers, and malware. Install antivirus and antimalware software with heuristic capability. Configure firewalls Keep your operating system updated and allow the highest levels of security in your web browsers.