As we dive deeper into the digital age, accessing our bank accounts and other financial data online becomes more of a necessity than a privilege. While online banking is more convenient, it also exposes us to greater identity theft risks.
By making a habit out of certain practices, you’ll be aware of suspicious activity sooner.
Review Your Bank Accounts on a Daily Basis
Just as you read the news and check email every morning, you should also be checking your financial accounts. This goes for investment accounts, as well as checking and savings accounts.
In general, transactions take a day to post. By checking your accounts every day, you’ll be able to identify suspicious activity as early as possible. Otherwise, several transactions may be approved before you realize the account has been compromised. Depending on your bank’s terms of service, you may have no way to recover that money if you don’t catch the problem early enough. You might also be able to set up alerts with your financial institution to notify you of any unusual activity.
Don’t Fall for Smishing Scams
You may be familiar with phishing practices, but have you heard of smishing? This is the term invented to describe those alarming text messages, which claim to warn you about suspicious account activity. The message will ask you to call a toll free number to verify your account details, such as your account number and PIN number.
In reality, that toll-free number will connect you to scam artists (sometimes in a foreign country), who will use your information to access your account. Financial experts recommend calling the customer service number listed on your bank statement to verify information contained within any text message involving financial problems.
Use Online Security Protections
Today, we have a number of protections that can help guard your information when accessing your online accounts. To begin, ensure your computer has a good quality firewall installed, and ensure the firewall is active every time you use your computer. It’s also wise to subscribe to a VPN (virtual private network) service, which helps by masking your location and encrypting any data you send or receive.
You should also pay attention to the address bar when you do visit the banking sites through which you access your accounts. If you don’t see a green icon (usually the image of a padlock), the site isn’t secure and you should not enter your login information. If this is the case, contact your bank and notify them of the problem.
For more on maintaining your financial security online, contact your financial advisor or your bank. They may be able to point you to more resources that will help you keep your money secure. Staying one step ahead of white collar criminals can help you avoid losses.
It’s also advised to share tips like these with your older relatives, neighbors and friends. Those who are less tech-savvy could inadvertently fall into a trap and be taken advantage of.
This blog/website is only made available for educational purposes. It is designed to give visitors general information and a general understanding of select financial topics. It is not intended to provide specific financial or investment advice. Conduct your own due diligence or consult a licensed financial advisor/broker before making any and all financial/investment decisions.