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Secure Online Banking Security Tips

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 03/14/2011 @ 3:41 pm In Personal Finance | 27 Comments

I love online banking. It’s so convenient. From bill pay to transfers, it’s easy to take care of just about any banking need online. An increasing number of banks are even beginning to allow you to snap photos of checks with your smart phone and deposit money that way.

While all of this technology is convenient, and it can certainly be fast, you need to be aware that having so much information out there can also make you vulnerable in some ways. When banking online, it is important to protect yourself. Here are some things you can do to reduce the chances that someone will clean you out while you bank online:

Only Use Your Own Computer

Never log onto anything important from a public computer. This includes hotel lobby computers, local library computers, or even computers at your friends’ houses. You can never be sure how secure those machines our and it’s trivial to connect or install a keylogger somewhere. There’s also little reason to log onto anything important while you’re not at home because it can always wait until then.

Make Sure You Are On a Secure Site

The first thing you need to do is make sure that everything is secure on the financial web site. Be sure that you are visiting the official web site. This means that you can’t always trust emails that come claiming to be from your bank. The last thing you want to do is enter your account access information on a site sent to you via a phishing [3] scam. Instead, enter the official address of your bank into the browser directly and log into banking from there.

Also, look for the “lock” icon by your address bar to determine if the connection is secure. You can also look for “https” instead of “http” to determine whether or not a connection is secure. Before you enter your login information, make sure everything is secure. When you are done, log out of the account, empty the cache and then close the browser window.

Create a Good Password

Another important security measure to take is the creation of a secure password [4]. A secure password is one that is difficult for someone else to guess — and one that may not be directly connected with your life. Your kids’ names, birthdays and other information that hackers can find by doing a sweep of your social media presence, are not good choices. Here are some guidelines to creating a good password:

  • Make it at least 8 characters
  • Use upper and lower case letters
  • Add in some numbers
  • Consider using special characters when allowed (@, ^, $, etc.)

You should also change your online banking passwords often. Switch it up a few times a year so that hackers have less of a chance of stumbling upon it. Additionally, avoid using the same password for all of your bank accounts. If a hacker gets into one, he or she can get into all of your accounts if you use the same password.

Install Computer Security

You might also want to install computer security. There are a number of software programs designed to protect your computer. These include programs that create a firewall for your computer, as well as protect from spyware, adware, viruses and other malware that can infect your computer. Be sure that you update your security software regularly as new threats are identified daily.

Monitor Your Accounts

And, of course, there is little substitute for vigilance. Monitor your bank accounts [5], checking for suspicious activity. Reconcile your accounts each month, and make sure that everything is in proper order. Regularly monitoring your accounts can help you ensure that you catch problems early on.

Do you have additional ideas to share about banking online securely?

(Photo: redteam [6])


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URLs in this post:

[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/secure-online-banking-security-tips.html

[3] phishing: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/beware-phishing-schemes.html

[4] secure password: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-create-a-strong-password-you-can-remember.html

[5] Monitor your bank accounts: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/always-check-your-credit-card-statements.html

[6] redteam: http://www.flickr.com/photos/redteam/278922548/sizes/m/

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