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How to Handle your Bank Accounts Safely on the Internet

We’ve all heard the warnings about downloading malicious content to our electronic devices. Some will steal our passwords; others provide direct access to our financial details and accounts. While these are real threats, we’re often too distracted by these and don’t focus on our own errors and actions concerning banking security. Most internet fraudsters don’t use viruses and other malicious software – they don’t need them. The problem is that users make it far too easy to access their details by other means.

Use a Strong Password

It’s the most repeated and the most obvious security tip, but it’s amazing how many people skip this in favour of something easy to remember and guess. Ideally, you should mix upper and lower case letters and intersperse numbers. There is nothing wrong with being something easy for you to remember, but you need a password difficult for others to guess. Maybe combine about your favourite colour, favourite holiday destination and a year of birth. Nobody would think to enter a password such as RedSpain2001 but they will guess at your children’s names.

Choose a Security Code That’s Difficult to Guess

One extra security measure for online banking is the security code. Your bank will ask you to choose a number with six or eight digits. A date is the obvious security code for this (01-02-73 or 25-09-1968) Most people go with something easy such as their birth date or wedding anniversary. It’s easy for you to remember. However, these will often be the first types of security code that scammers and fraudsters will use. Choose something easy for you to remember but that others will find difficult to guess. We recommend choosing something like your graduation date or the date you started your last job.

Internet SecurityMonitor Your Bank Accounts

If the unfortunate does happen and you end up the victim of fraud, time is of the essence. The quicker you notice a problem and report it to your bank, the quicker they can act. If your card is lost or stolen, they can issue a new one right away and take action to stop the fraudsters. It will also minimise your financial losses and the stress of worrying about having to cope without money for a few days or a week. Check your account daily and take note of any strange transactions. Most banks will notify you of problems these days but you shouldn’t rely on them to do so.

Update Mobile Security Software Too

Your anti-virus and firewall software releases regular updates – usually when they’ve discovered a security flaw or are responding to new threats. You’ve known for years of the importance of using anti-virus protection, firewalls and malware protection on your desktop or laptop, but do you have anything installed on your smartphone or tablet? People often miss these or go a long time without ensuring they are up to date. Be as strict and as organised with your security on your mobile devices as you are with your main electronic devices.

Use your Mobile Device’s Security Protocols

The rise of mobile and internet banking has made it much easier to pay for goods and services. Using your phone is not a problem in itself so long as your keep the security software updated as explained in the previous post. App administrators and mobile websites are required by law to protect your data. This will account for nothing if you don’t do all you can to protect your device(s). Some have retinal scanning, others require fingerprint swiping or entering a code. They might seem slow and inconvenient, but if you lose your phone, people who will defraud you have unprecedented access to your financial information.