Javelin Strategy & Research's 2016 study on identity fraud reveals that every minute, online fraudsters steal $35,600 in the US. In UK, one in 10 people have fallen victim to fraud or online offences. While this might make you wary of mobile banking and investing on the go, the good news is that most fraud is a result of human error. As long as you stay alert and make smart choices, you are can do much to ensure your online safety.
Here are four tips that will help you keep your money safe:
1. Protect Your Password
Use a strong password with a mix 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 children and pet's names are easy to guess, so avoid those and stay safe online. Change your password frequently, don't store it on a paper, and never share a password with anyone. Use a secure password manager if you tend to forget your password.
If you receive a phone call that claims to be from your bank, asking you to provide or verify your account details, be sure it is fraudulent. You may even received fraudulent emails asking for such information. Never click on a pre-typed link to access your bank account, instead type in the URL into the browser yourself. If you have enabled auto complete function for web forms, make sure you disable it for your bank's website.
2. Use a Secure / Encrypted Connection
Don't access your bank account on free / unencrypted public Wi-Fi connections, don't login to your bank's website on public or shared computers, and always log-out and close the window when you are done transacting. If you are forced to use a public connection, do change your password from your own device (PC, laptop or smartphone) as soon as you can. Whenever possible, use a VPN service to access your account.
Another smart move is to use a separate, dedicated browser to access your bank account online. If you use Chrome or Explorer for general browsing, use Firefox for your banking transactions.
3. Utilize Your Bank's Security Options
Most banks offer a two-step verification process like One Time Password (OTP) for safer online banking. Use it. Sign up for transaction notifications / email alerts from your bank and pay attention to these. Too often, people filter these messages into a separate folder or archive these without reading. Make sure you don't. Check your statements regularly, and if anything seems out of place, contact your bank.
4. Shield Your Devices
To strengthen your online security, make sure all your devices are shielded from viruses, hackers, and malware. Install heuristics-capable antivirus and anti-malware software. Set up firewalls. Keep your operating system updated, and activate the highest security levels on your web browsers.
Key takeaway – the more you stay alert, the safer your online banking experience will be.