Safe Online Banking

How your financial institution is keeping you safe online

Whether you need to pay a parking ticket, buy a birthday gift or make a utility payment, the ability to make financial transactions online has made so many day-to-day activities easier. Despite the convenience, it can be scary to provide your debit/credit card or financial account information online. As more and more people bank online, hackers are taking notice. Fortunately, financial institutions know just how to keep your account information and your money safe.

Because hackers are always trying to hack into financial institution’s websites, they are continuously improving their technology to keep your account safe.

“In addition, even if hackers are able to steal money from your account, you will still be protected, as [financial institutions] are liable for those stolen funds,” states Rob Berger for MSN Money.

One of the best ways that financial institutions protect your account is by informing you how to keep your account information safe yourself. One of the most common ways that hackers obtain a person’s account information is by phishing — sending an e-mail that tricks people into providing private account information.

Your financial institution will never send an e-mail that requires you to reply with your account number, pin, online login or password. Financial institutions maintain this policy so that you’re immediately able to tell if someone is phishing for your information. Never respond to an e-mail, even if it appears to be from your financial institution, with your account information. Instead, call the number on the back of your debit or credit card or on your financial institution’s website and speak directly to an employee if you’re unsure about the origin of an e-mail.

Another type of phishing scam involves receiving an e-mail with a link that appears to be from your financial institution. If you log into that copycat page, your information may be stolen. Instead of clicking on links within e-mails, it’s best to open a new browser window and type in your financial institution’s website information yourself. Once you’re on your financial institution’s page, you can login and see if you have an alert that matches the content of the e-mail you received.

“Mobile banking is generally considered safe. But online frauds like smishing are gaining some traction,” according to Bankrate.com. “Smishing occurs when you get a dubious text message from a fraudster posing as a [financial institution] representative.”

You can deal with this threat in the same manner as phishing threats. Don’t call any number that you get from a text. Instead, call the number on your card or financial institution’s website to inquire about the text message.

Many financial institutions have a verification process that keeps track of computers and mobile devices that log into your account, in order to watch out for unusual activity. This can involve a multistep login process that requires you to answer a security question along with providing the correct login information when you use a new computer or mobile device. Talk to a representative of your financial institution to find out what types of security measures are in place so you know what information will be needed if you bank on more than one computer.

While phishing and other online scams may make online banking seem scary, it can actually be one of the best ways to prevent fraud. Online and mobile banking makes communication between you and your financial institution faster and more efficient than ever, and financial institutions are using this fact to prevent fraud.

Many financial institutions send out alerts to your phone or e-mail address if a charge is made that is unusually large or outside of your typical geographic area. Some even offer a multistep process for large purchases, such as confirming a pending transaction through an app or text.

Just as online banking helps your financial institution prevent fraud, it helps you protect yourself. Because financial transactions are reported online instantly, it’s easy to keep an eye out for suspicious charges.

With traditional banking, you have to wait for a paper statement in the mail.

“That gives fraudsters ample time to spend your money,” according to Bankrate.com. “With online banking, you’ll know when a charge is recorded with the [financial institution], especially if you set up cell phone text or e-mail alerts.”

If you would like to discuss online banking, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.


Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser
Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

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