Online banking is convenient. You can easily check balances, transfer money between accounts, and pay bills online, saving you a lot of time and effort.
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That’s all good, but be vigilant about protecting your online accounts.
- Monitor your accounts closely by logging into your accounts frequently. If you discover a problem or discrepancy, contact your bank immediately.
- Review your statements as soon as received. You can’t spot a problem if you don’t pay attention.
- Never use public computers for private transactions like online banking. Computers in public places like the library or an internet café may have keystroke loggers installed to grab your private information.
- Never click Email link supposedly sent by your bank, no matter how authentic it looks. It could be a phishing scam.
- Never give out personal information over the phone or by Email. If necessary, call the bank yourself.
- Never enter confidential information or passwords on an unsecure page. Be sure your bank connection is secure. The login page should contain “https” in the URL, for example, https:\bankname.com. The “s” indicates a secure server.
- Change your banking password frequently and give it to no one, not even people you trust. If you suspect a problem, change your password and call your bank immediately to report suspicious activity.
- Don’t lend your ATM card or share your password with anyone, and never write your PIN number on your ATM card. Shield your transactions at the ATM, so that what you enter cannot be seen.
- Check ATM machines for “skimmer devices,” that record your PIN number and information from the ATM card’s magnetic strip. Some skimmers installed over ATM key pads include warnings stating the equipment is being tested. If you see this, do NOT use the ATM.
- If you do online banking, be sure to install and frequently update the following software:
- A firewall to block the backdoor access to your computer
- Spyware blockers to thwart secret downloads to your system from the Internet, often through pop-up ads or attachments. Spyware gathers and sends information about you to third parties, who could very well be scammers or thieves.
- Anti-virus software to protect against “Trojan horse” and other viruses sent in Email.
As a general rule, shred old and unused checks and any unwanted paper that has your bank account number on it. Never give anyone a signed blank check.
Happy and safe computing!
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