Online banking is as convenient as it gets – you can virtually check the status of your account from anywhere. However, online hackers are finding new ways to access private information, so stay safe with these tips for keeping your online banking information secure.
- Monitor your accounts regularly. Check your accounts regularly to make sure all transactions posted are those you have authorized. Report any fraudulent or suspicious activity to the credit union immediately or, at minimum, within 60 days from date of transaction. Monitor your accounts every few days and always after you’ve done any type of online shopping to make sure your account was charged appropriately and that your account number isn’t being used for other purchases you didn’t authorize.
- Avoid clicking through suspicious emails. It’s usually safest to log in to your account from the website directly to ensure you are entering a secure site. Phishing emails redirect the recipient to a malicious website or fraudulent version of the credit union’s website and some are designed to collect your username, password, and other personal information. Never respond to emails that ask to verify your identity by providing your account number or password.
- Change your passwords regularly. Avoid using the same password across multiple sites and make sure you are choosing a strong password that is a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using any words or phrases that contain your name, initials or your birthdate. Also get into the habit of changing them every couple of months. Never write your password down, have your browser save your password or store it where someone else could easily find it! Secure financial institutions also require you to answer a security question prior to logging into your account online. This multi-layered security can make the online banking process safer and is required by regulation.
- Access your accounts from a secure location. Avoid using unsecured wi-fi to log in to your online banking accounts. You should access these accounts when you’re certain you have a secure connection. Unsecured wireless access points, such as those found at airports, coffee shops and hotels are easy to intercept and someone could easily collect your login information.
- Protect your computer and your login information. Make sure you are running anti-virus protection software and the firewall is turned on, so you aren’t vulnerable to a virus that might be downloaded and installed from a malicious site. Never share your account number or password with anyone. Sharing your password with someone else is the same as giving that individual authority to use your name in a transaction. Never leave your device unattended during an online banking session; it’s always a good practice to make sure to sign off and close your browser.
- Check for encryption. Look for a small lock icon somewhere on your browser! The URL should also begin with “https.” Both the icon and the URL indicate you are accessing your account over an encrypted (secure) connection.
- Keep your system up-to-date. Make sure you’re downloading appropriate security patches to your device to keep your system up-to-date. Run anti-virus scans regularly and authorize critical system updates to install as needed. A large majority of exploits are focused on outdated systems, so your system may be more vulnerable to an attack unless you continually update it.