Fraud stole almost $8.8 billion from consumers in 2022. Much of this fraud occurs through online means, whereby a consumer's financial accounts are illegally accessed or where they are scammed into completing fraudulent online money transfers. In either case, this type of fraud can delete your valuable financial resources - Often without much recourse in getting the money back. In order to prevent this problem before it occurs, there are steps you and every online banking customer, should take to protect your assets online. Here are some of the most important:
Secure your banking credentials
Banking fraud protection starts with your login credentials. Once someone gets ahold of them, they have free access to your financial information. Keep your passwords secure and unauthorized people out of your financial business with these critical steps:
Create strong passwords
The constant reminders to create hard-to-crack passwords isn't just a way of making your online life more difficult. They are a way to build an unbreakable wall between your financial information and unscrupulous individuals. Here are some qualities of a strong password:
- Mix of upper and lower case letters
- Inclusion of numbers and symbols
- 12+ characters long
- In addition, you should avoid including guessable information, such as birth dates and family names and make sure every password you create is different from the others.
Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to your account by requiring you to both enter your password and verify your identity via a different method (e.g. A code sent to your phone or email). This makes it harder for someone who has your password to enter your accounts, since they would also have to have access to your phone or email.
Change your passwords regularly
In order to prevent unauthorized access to your financial accounts, you should change your passwords on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to update your access codes every 3 months, whether or not your financial institution requires it.
Access your accounts from secure networks
Secure accounts are not the only way to protect against online banking fraud. The network you use to get into your accounts also matters.
Avoid public networks
Avoid public networks, such as those found in restaurants or libraries. These networks are less secure and are therefore more easily hacked. Instead, use a VPN or a private home network to manage your finances online.
Secure your personal home network
In addition, make sure that your home Wi-Fi is also secure. Make sure that your network uses strong passwords, encryption and other security features to make it hard to hack.
Access your accounts from secure devices
With secure accounts and a secure network, you are well on your way to preventing online banking fraud. However, you also need to make sure that the devices you use to manage your finances are also secure. Here are some tips:
Install regular updates
Device updates can feel frequent and annoying. However, they often include important security repairs that can make it harder for unscrupulous individuals to access your private financial information. Make sure you keep up with these updates in order to keep up with the best possible security for each device.
Maintain antivirus software
Keep malware from infiltrating your computer by installing and maintaining antivirus software. This software can stop viruses when they try to enter your computer, and help you clear them out once they do.
Use trusted apps
Never install any apps on your device that you do not trust. For example, download and install banking apps from reputable stores in order to avoid accidentally installing something that could give hackers a gateway into your financial information.
Avoid phishing attempts
Phishing refers to emails designed to entice you into clicking on a link or providing personal information to an unscrupulous individual. Sometimes, these emails will look like they come from your banking institution. Stay alert to these signs that an email could be a phishing attempt:
- Requests for personal information
- Grammatical errors
- Links that do not match domain
- Attempts to create a sense of urgency or panic
If you have any doubts about an email, reach out to your banking institution to confirm whether the email came from them or not.
Monitor your accounts
Stay on top of activity on your accounts in order to catch potential banking fraud before it wipes you out. For example, look for unfamiliar transactions, and consider setting up alerts to be automatically reminded of unusual activity or transactions. If you find anything suspicious, report it to your banking institution immediately so they can deal with it before it becomes a bigger problem.
At Bank of South Texas, we have all the financial products and services you need. And, we can help you prevent online banking fraud so your financial business remains yours. Discover our wide range of products and let us help you reach your financial goals.