Paying bills can be tedious, but performing this task right from your personal computer has become an efficient and very popular option to banking. As you get your accounts set up, keep in mind the following tips to keep your personal information safe and secure.
Choose your password and personal ID name carefully
Don’t look for the easy way out when choosing a password. The most common one chosen is “password”, so it is the first one tried by hackers. Common dictionary words should also not be used. Hackers have programs that use the dictionary and simply search until a match is found. It is also wise to avoid using any personal ID such as your date of birth, address or social security number. Experts advise creating passwords with unrelated letters of both upper and lower case and mixing in numbers. It is also recommended that you use a different password for each site you log into and change your passwords periodically.
Be careful when accessing your bank account from public networks or computers.
Once you sign on to your bank account do not walk away and leave your computer unattended. Also remember to sign out of your account once you have completed your business. Never have your computer set up to save your passwords, account numbers or credit card numbers. Always clear your cache memory and immediately close the browser. Do not be too free to allow others to use your computer. That nice person you just met at your motel pool could be a nice thief.
Use Anti-Virus and firewall protection.
There are many good products on the market. Also make sure that your program is current and set to automatically update daily.
Choose your bank wisely
If you have had your account for many years with a local bank, chances are they have online banking available. This will be the easiest to set up and work with. All legitimate banks have firewalls and safety measures in place to protect your information. They will explain those measures to you thoroughly and require you go though a series of safety layers before you can log into your account. This is for your protection and well worth the initial set up required. There are many large banks with online banking that may not have a local office and these are secure as well; just make sure they insure deposits with the FDIC.
Beware of suspicious email and phishing scams.
Your bank will NEVER ask you to send your account number by email for verification. Never respond to email requesting this information. Phishers have been know to copy mastheads from legitimate organizations to trick people into responding with account, credit card and social security numbers. A quick call to your bank to verify any email requesting account information is critical to protecting your account.
Online banking is here to stay. It is great for both the consumer and industry. Following the tips mentioned and the advise of your financial institution will ensure that you can enjoy the convenience of taking care of your banking from your personal computer whether at home or while traveling in a secure and safe manner.