Online banking is one of the riskiest things you do on the internet. You’re dealing with your life savings – and most of us don’t deal with it safely.
Today, we’re showing you 5 simple steps anyone can implement today to make them a smarter, safer, more effective online banking customer.
5) Always Check the Address Bar
We’ll start with an easy one: before you type your banking data into your bank’s website, check the address bar to ensure it’s exactly what you know your bank’s website to be.
Ideally, you’ll manually type your bank’s website into the address bar every time you search anyway, but this extra step can save you enormous headaches. Most phishing schemes rely on tricking you into giving your banking details into a fake website – like a website that’s identical to your banking website but is actually based at a different URL.
Type your bank’s website into the URL bar manually every time, and always double check before you type in your password.
4) Enable Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication forces your bank to request a second authorization code if you’re signing in from a new device (or sometimes, when you’re signing in from any device). Two factor authentication is the easiest and most effective way to thwart 99% of hacking attempts.
Most financial institutions have two factor authentication systems (remember: they lose money too if your account gets breached).
Setup your two factor authentication system with your bank and you’ll avoid enormous headaches.
3) Buy a Computer Exclusively for Banking
This tip is a little unreasonable for many people, but it’s a nice luxury – especially if you have an older (but updated) computer that’s no longer being used.
Consider using that computer exclusively for online banking. Do all your banking on that computer and nothing else. Don’t install additional software. Don’t check your email. Don’t play games. Don’t watch adult entertainment…you get the picture. This significantly limits your exposure to infections and other threats.
2) Never Visit your Banking Website Directly from an Email or Text Message
You might get a text message one day that sounds important. It might say something like “IMPORTANT: Your Bank of America account is experiencing suspicious activity. Please login immediately to review: [link to Bank of America]”.
Whether it’s an email or text message, NEVER click that link. Most modern (smart) banks, if they need to email you, will tell you to visit their website on your own instead of clicking through an email or text message.
Typically, if you see a link to your bank in an email or text message, it’s a phishing attempt. Ignore it and avoid it at all costs.
1) Lock Down your Mobile Device
Some people are stupid with their phones. They think their phones will never get stolen, so they don’t need a fingerprint scanner or PIN code on their phones.
That’s just ignorant.
Thousands of phones get stolen every day. All you need is one mobile banking app on your phone or one login cookie for your bank on your mobile browser and your bank account is immediately compromised. You think phone thieves don’t know this? Of course they do.
Setup a PIN code on your phone if for some incredible reason you haven’t already done so. Some of the better mobile banking apps actually require you to scan a fingerprint or answer a PIN before opening the app, but that’s not always the case.