Banking online has become the norm for the majority of consumers who find that it is much easier to pay their bills and check their bank accounts by simply accessing their account through the bank website. However, just as you are able to access your account from your computer at any time of the day or night, there are unscrupulous people waiting in the wings for you to slip up so that they can also gain access to your account and clean out your savings. While it is very convenient to be able to pay your bills online, it is also essential that you follow safety tips to protect your identity and your finances.
Before you get started with online banking, make sure that your computer is protected. This means making sure that you have anti-virus protection to stop fraudulent access to the files and information that you have stored in the hard drive. You should also ensure that you have a firewall set up on the computer that will block any viruses from gaining access. There is a lot of reputable software of this nature on the market and it is not as expensive as you may think.
Your password is your link to your bank account. You should choose a password that will be difficult for anyone to randomly guess correctly. Experts advise that you should never use your date of birth or any numbers that are of significance to you that others may be aware of. A combination of letters and numbers is the best choice in this regard. Once you have selected a password, memorize it and do not give it out to anyone. You also need to change your password on a regular basis – once every six months is a reasonable time frame for this change.
Be wary of logging on to your bank account when you are using a shared computer. Never save your password on a computer that is used by others and always make sure that you log out when you are finished with your online banking.
One of the way scammers often gain access to personal bank accounts through online banking is by sending you an email that appears to have come from your bank. This email will suggest that you need to confirm your identity as part of a routine check and will ask for your password. Banks and financial institutions will never contact you through email. Their communication is always by telephone or in writing by regular mail. Any emails you receive that seem to come from your bank should be deleted and not opened. If you do accidentally open an email from your bank and supply the required information, contact your bank immediately so that they can take the steps necessary to protect your identity and your money.
Just as you take the necessary steps to protect your home and family to keep them safe from harm, you should also take the steps needed to protect your finances when you conduct your banking online.