How to Bank Online Safely

Posted on 04/15/2010

Identity theft is on the rise according to recent studies. The Javelin Strategy and Research Center found that there were nearly 10 million victims of identity theft in 2008, a 22 percent increase from the year before. Bank fraud accounts for 17 percent of identity theft cases. Here are steps to take to make sure you’re banking online safely.

Beware of Phishing - Crooks are always looking for ways to get their hands on your sensitive information. A common way they do this is by sending out phishing emails. They may look official bank business, but these emails are far from it. They’re actually luring you to a fake website where you’ll be asked to enter your personal information. Just remember that banks don’t request sensitive details like pin numbers and passwords through email.

Use a Secure Connection - Your computer is more at risk when you use an Internet connection in a public place. If you need to log into your account, pay bills or transfer funds, it’s best to wait until you are at home, using a password protected connection. Keep an eye out for the padlock symbol and web addresses that start with “https.” These are both indicators that you’re using a secure connection.

Memorize Passwords - Although it can be tough to remember all of those online banking passwords and pin codes, burn them into your memory. Writing them down or storing passwords on your computer is not a good idea. It just makes it easier for scammers to get a hold of them.

Review Transaction History - Keeping a close watch on your banking transactions is a good safeguard against identity thieves. If you see any unusual or unauthorized activity, report it right away to your financial institution.

Deter Thieves - Thieves are looking for the easy way in. The more protection you have on your computer like firewalls and anti-virus software, the more likely you are to deter thieves. You’ll be able to bank online safely without worrying about hackers.

By Alison Storm

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