Online banking seems to be just part of life now; many people wouldn’t be able to remember the last time they wrote a cheque. But hacking is more prevalent than ever before, too. It seems that, at least once a week, we hear about another company whose records were hacked, leaving their customers’ information vulnerable. So – since online banking isn’t going away any time soon, what can you do to keep your information secure?
Look for the Lock
The very first thing you should do is look for the little lock icon. If that icon isn’t there, the site isn’t secure. Never enter any personal information on a site that isn’t secured.
Choose a Good Password
It’s so hard to keep up with multiple passwords that many people use the same password for everything. That might be OK for some sites, but not for the ones that secure your financial information. The password you use for online banking should be completely different from the passwords you use for other sites.
There are a few other important things to remember when choosing a password for your online banking:
- Choose a password that’s at least 6 characters long.
- Use a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numerals, and symbols.
- Stay away from passwords that are guessable, like your birthday, your address, or the name of your spouse. If your password is easy to remember, it’s a good bet that it would also be easy for a hacker to guess.
Lock Your Screen
If there’s a computer that you regularly use for banking, set it up so that the screensaver pops up after a certain amount of inactivity, and make it require a password to log in.
Clear the Cache
If there is any – any! – possibility that someone else could have access to your computer, clear the cache when you finish your online banking. This prevents other people who may use the computer after you from accessing the sites you used. This tip is especially critical if you use public computers, like in a library or internet café.
Keep it Secret
Cliches exist for a reason, and a good one to remember is, “Keep the honest person honest.” Even someone you trust with all your heart could be vulnerable to temptation. Even if it’s your best friend, if someone is in desperate need of money to care for a sick child, for instance, having your password could be too tempting to resist. Desperate people do desperate things.
Choose Obscure Security Questions
A lot of sites require you to choose certain questions and answers to verify your identity. If everybody you’ve ever met knows your favorite color, that’s a bad choice for your security question. Choose something like the name of your favorite teacher or best friend in third grade…something that other people aren’t likely to know.
Use Built-in Security Measures
Most operating systems come with a firewall – enable it. Activate the security options on your Wi-Fi. Not using every security measure that’s available to you is just asking for trouble.
It may not be possible to make online banking completely risk-free, but there are a lot of simple things you can do to minimize your risk. Safeguard your money by taking advantage of every security measure that’s available to you.