Hey Fam! Welcome to another blog post! You may have heard about the Equifax data breach. This occurred between mid- May and July 2017, where hackers got access to a lot of Americans’ private identifying information, including bank card numbers. Situations like this happen too often whether on a small or a large scale and is not unique to any one territory, institution or person. In this digital world we are open to risk each time we connect to the internet or give a company personal data and they store it in a database connected through a network.
This is why we should develop techniques to protect ourselves online especially when online banking or doing other monetary transactions online. Don’t rely on the banks to help you recover your stolen money. In recent times banks are shifting liability away from themselves and on to the customer, they will try to prove negligence on the part of the customer before giving back a cent. It is time to take your online banking safety into your own hands and minimize the risk of losing all your money. Here are a few tips.
Username and Password
- Never allow your browsers to remember your username or password for any website, especially your bank’s. Type it in every time. Yes, even if the computer belongs to you. Hackers mainly get access to data stored, do not help them by allowing your computer to store sensitive information.
- Change your password every one to three months. The more often you change your password the less probable it will be for someone to guess it.
- Set up a pin/authorization code that will be needed when doing online banking transactions such as transferring money or paying a bill. Most bank websites offer this capability. If you do not have this setup; find out from your bank if this option is available. Stop doing online banking with that institution if the option is not available or set it up now if it is. This acts as extra security beyond the username and password used to login and make changes to your bank account. Having one will ensure that even if an unauthorized person gets access to your account through the banks online portal, they will not be able to transfer out all the money without being prompted for that code.
- Turn off the autofill option in your browser. Do this so that the data you enter, especially banking information, is not stored.
- Register your bank card on your bank’s online portal using only your private computer, if the option is available. If you can, designate that computer to doing only financial transactions. This tells your bank that most online banking transactions will happen through this one IP address. This makes it easier to spot any irregularities and helps to support your case in the event that money gets stolen from you.
Malicious software (Malware) infects your computer with a virus that allows hackers to take control of your computer or to track every keystroke after the infection. Your computer usually gets infected by compromised links or through insecure websites.
- Install antivirus software. You should get the best quality protection to greatly minimize the risks of malware infections. A good software will warn you about a suspicious email, website or link. it will also protect your personal information. contact an I.T. professional to assist you with this.
- Do not click on links in suspicious emails or text messages. It is highly improbable that your bank will not notify you of an irregularity with your account through email or text, then ask you to verify your account by clicking on a link to enter personal information. Always call the bank’s customer care line printed on your card to verify any information. It is also unlikely that your bank will contact you via telephone or email requesting personal information, your pin or your password. Contact your bank immediately if this happens.
- Minimize or restrict access to certain websites, such as social media websites, gaming websites, porn websites or large community boards. These types of websites are usually crawling with malware specifically left there by a hacker.
- Consider changing the settings on your mobile device so it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi. That way, you have more control over who may have access to your device as well as when and how your device uses public Wi-Fi.
- If you have multiple accounts attached to one bank card; the amount in the primary account should be kept to a minimum. Ensure your salary is not sent to this account. Transfer money over to this account only when you need to purchase something. So even if someone tries to use your card, they are not able to make purchases beyond that minimum amount. This also makes it little easier to track all your transactions.
- Check your account regularly for any unauthorized transactions. Online banking gives you access to your account 24/7. At the end of each day check your account to ensure that everything is ok. After you are finished log out and close down that browser.
- Think about removing the overdraft capability from your account. This limits the amount the hacker or thief can spend to only the balance in your account. If you have overdraft protection activated and your checking account is backed by your savings or the bank will foot the bill up to a certain amount; it opens up your savings to extreme vulnerability or you having to pay for ‘loans’ that you did not apply for. An overdraft occurs when you don’t have enough money available in your account to cover a transaction and the bank allows the transaction to go through and then charges a fee for the service and interest on that overdrawn amount. Or you can link your checking account to your savings account, where the bank will use that linked backup source to fund transactions you don’t have enough money for in your checking account but still charge you a fee. A thief or hacker will try to spend as much as they can including that overdraft amount.
With everything in life there are pros and cons. We should be able to enjoy the advantages in life and minimize the pitfalls. This includes online banking, which is a great tool that allows customers to have some level of control over their money, convenience and it minimizes the amount customers have to pay in banking fees. So take the steps necessary to secure your money and personal information when doing online transactions with the information above.
Leave me a comment down below telling me about how you minimize the risks associated with online banking. If you just want to leave me some positivity, click the heart down below. Kindly share this post with everyone, especially someone who may need it and keep the conversation going. Thanks again for stopping by, until next time Fam, walk good.