These days, our lives are pretty much run by our phones, apps, and the Internet. We even handle our banking accounts online and on our mobile devices. While apps and the Internet make it much easier to access our banking information, having such sensitive information on your phone can be dangerous. However, by following a few simple steps, you can keep your banking and financial information safe and secure.
Use strong passwords
First and foremost, keep your smartphone, computer, and online accounts password protected. And “password” or “1234…” will not do the trick. Use passwords that contain both letters, numbers, and special characters, and make sure not to use the same password twice. In addition to a username and password, most banks require multi-factor authentication as another line of defense for protecting your account.
Maintain computer security
Regularly maintain your computer firewall and keep other security features on your devices up to date. Fortunately, many systems have automatic updates, so you won’t even have to worry about remembering to update your computer’s security.
Be wary when downloading
Downloading a file or app from an unknown source can be potentially dangerous, leaving you open to potential viruses or hacks. Only download from trustworthy websites that you are familiar with. Be wary of free software as well, as it is often accompanied by other software you did not intend to download.
Use your own computer and network
When dealing with financial or banking information, it is always best to use your own devices and wireless networks. Public computers may contain software that capture your passwords and other information. Additionally, public networks often aren’t secure, increasing the possibility of someone intercepting your financial information.
Don’t fall for “phishing”
“Phishing” emails, text messages, and other forms of communication aimed at gaining access to individuals’ banking information. The scammers who send these phishing emails typically pose as a bank or websites you have legitimate accounts with and ask for credit card or other financial details. However, legitimate companies will not ask you to share personal financial information via email, so these phishing emails can be easy to spot.
Log out completely
This may seem like an obvious step, but sometimes logging out of our banking accounts can skip our minds. Simply closing an app or browser window will not log you out of your online accounts. Additionally, opening multiple windows in a browser while logged into your online banking account may leave you exposed to “session stealing,” allowing unauthorized access to your banking information and services.
Identity theft and credit card fraud are unfortunately very common. By following these simple steps, you can protect yourself and your financial information year-round.