With the increasing popularity of the Internet as a virtual marketplace, consumers and criminals alike have capitalized on this growing community. As a result the issue of Internet security has become one of great importance, especially when it comes to online banking. However, safe banking online is not as difficult as it may seem. It simply involves making the right choices. This article will provide some tips that will help ensure a safe banking experience on the Internet.
First, make sure that the bank you choose is legitimate. If they do not have a branch you can visit locally, then you won’t have the convenience of checking them out in person. In such cases, it is advisable to read pertinent information about the bank on its site. Most financial institutions will have an “About Us” tab where you can read more information about the bank and its history. You should even be able to the find name and address for the bank’s headquarters along with a toll free number you can use to speak with a live person.
Second, be aware of criminals who put up fraudulent websites under a name or web address similar to that of a credible bank. Unfortunately, theses undesirables have caused some trepidation when it comes to online banking. However, they can be fairly easy to spot and avoid. These sites are designed to trick you into entering their website and providing your personal information (i.e., social security number, account number, password). Be sure you have typed the appropriate web address for your bank before accessing your account online. This can be easily ensured by “book marking” your bank’s site or adding it to your “favorites” in your web browser. Doing this virtually guarantees you will visit the correct site in the future.
Third, safeguard your private information. Thieves would love to get a hold of your credit card numbers, banking info, social security number and other private data. Review your bank’s security practices. This information is usually available on their website, but you should also be able contact the bank directly if necessary.
A secure online banking site will provide encryption. In this process, private information is scrambled in order to prevent the wrong eyes from seeing it. Some web browsers will show an icon at the bottom of your screen that looks like a key or a lock. This icon indicates that your transaction is secure and your private information has been encrypted.
A secure online bank will also provide a password or PIN (Personal Identification Number). These security measures will be unique to you and, in most cases, you should be able to choose your own. Your password or PIN should be something unique and regularly changed. If you use a birthday, then others could easily guess it. Try to use a combination that is easy for you to remember but unknown to others.
It should be clear that safe online banking is not an impossible task. It simply involves being well informed and making the right decisions. Use the tips mentioned in this article to help secure a safe banking experience on the Internet every time. If you seem to get stuck, then it is always best to contact your bank and discuss your security concerns with them.