It’s Time To Wise Up: How To Keep Your Money Safe Online
The risks you face
Living in an increasingly digital age, and with access to convenient online banking tools, it is only natural that some will seek to take advantage of vulnerable accounts. By clicking on unsafe emails, logging in via insecure pages, or handing over sensitive information, hackers can access your private bank accounts. It is even possible that a hacker may install malware on one of your personal devices, which allows them to redirect payments to their own accounts. To reduce the risks of falling victim to online banking fraud, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
It comes from personal experience
Here at SafeWebPlus, we know, all too well, the importance of protecting yourself against online fraud. Imagine having your bank account details stolen whilst on a 3 month trip around South America. It wasn’t until arriving back home that you checked your bank statements and saw hundreds of pounds worth of unwanted bank transfers. We can only imagine that it was whilst surfing on an unsecured public hotspot that your details were copied. For this very reason, we suggest reading the following protective measures very carefully.
What steps can you take to protect yourself?
1. Don’t access banking through emails
If your bank ever sends you a legitimate email regarding your account, they will never send you a link to access your online banking. Instead, you are required to access it yourself for safety reasons. Hackers ask you to click through a phony link as it then allows them access to your account, or they could implant malware.
2. Always check URLs
This point is valid for any site you go on, particularly when you are accessing your bank account or inputting your payment details for a purchase. Always check the URL to ensure there is the padlock symbol followed by ‘https’.
3. Only use trusted networks
Scammers target less secure public WiFi hotspots, such as those at airports, to target users accessing their bank accounts. Ignore the convenience and, instead, wait until you have a secure connection before logging into your account.
4. Use strong login details
With any logins or pins that you sign up with, make sure they are complicated and unique. If you use birthdates or your children’s names for your passwords or pins, it makes it much easier for your details to be guessed.
5. Don’t share these login details
No matter how much you trust someone, you should never share your login details to sensitive accounts. Also, avoid writing them down anywhere as you can never be sure whose hands they may fall into.
6. Switch to paperless banking
Though this is not necessarily possible for everyone, the majority of people should be able to switch to paperless banking. Paper mail containing important financial documents can be intercepted without you ever knowing.
7. Never pass details to your “bank” over the phone or by email
Your bank will never ask you to transfer any personal details over the phone or by email, so if someone is asking you for them, it’s likely a fraudster and you should hang up. If you really aren’t sure, then contact your bank directly beforehand to confirm their legitimacy on the matter.
8. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service you can purchase, usually on a monthly basis, which masks your IP address and helps secure your WiFi connection. It is useful if you travel or lot around the country or abroad, and often access multiple wireless connections. Simply switch on your VPN wherever you are and it masks your computer and stops hackers from hijacking it.
9. Use antivirus software
Even free antivirus software, such as that offered by AVG, is effective in protecting your computer against a wide variety of attacks. Just make sure that, whenever you log into an account, you have your firewall running.
Final words of advice
The above points are by no means meant to scare you but are instead designed to make you aware of the dangers everyone faces, and how to limit the risk of getting scammed. Keeping an eye on your bank statements is always wise as, even with the best measures in place, there is a chance you could slip up and your account could become compromised. By checking your statements, you can spot a problem early on and notify your bank to cease all transactions. Be sure to share this advice with your friends and loved ones, and together you can limit the harsh reality of online fraud.