Is Online Banking Safest?

Online banking is convenient, efficient, and perhaps safer than writing a check at a store…if you take a few safety precautions.

• Use unique passwords. Change them often.

Don’t use your address, social security number, telephone number or other easy-to-remember but quick-to-decipher passwords. If you have many passwords, make certain your written list is protected. There are also software programs that will encrypt, rotate, and keep track of your passwords.

• Beware of phishing.

Watch out for emails asking you to verify accounts or click a link and add personal information. Just because the email or website contains the logo of a legitimate company, doesn’t mean it’s okay. You may have received a phishing email. Do not respond to “click on the link”. Instead, call your bank or credit card company to verify.

• Use anti-virus and firewall software protection.

An unprotected computer is vulnerable. A digital thief can access your computer and download important personal data. Only use a computer you trust. A public computer may have keystroke recording software installed to collect passwords of unsuspecting users.

• Keep passwords private.

Never save passwords or PIN (Personal Identification Number) on a public computer. Never give friends your password to log on a website. Keep password reminders/hints private.

• Sign off and empty the cache.

When you finish any on-line banking session, always logout. If you don’t, someone could access your account through the open connection. Emptying the cache, or clearing your history, deletes the web addresses you just visited.

• Beware of public connections.

Even if you access secure websites from a public wifi system, your information is not protected. Immediately call your bank/credit union and change your password. When traveling, turn off the file sharing capability.

• Look for https.

After logging on to a secure banking website, you should see a URL that starts with https.  Having http is not secure. You might also check for a Verisign logo (or competitors) somewhere on the page. You can usually click these logos to learn more about their security.

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