Monday, October 10, 2016

Pay with Confidence: 5 Tips for Safe Online Banking

Online banking is convenient, sure, but if it's not safe, then it's not worth that convenience. Handled poorly, online banking could almost as dangerous as unlocking your safe deposit box and leaving it wide open for the public to pilfer. 

With just a few swift clicks, unscrupulous folks could destroy your credit rating or drain your accounts dry. Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to online banking. 

By taking careful precautions, you can benefit from its convenience without leaving yourself wide open to financial ruin.

1. Create powerful passwords.

Your password is the gateway to your account. Lowercase-letter words are remarkably easy for hackers to guess, no matter how wacky the word might seem to you. 

For that reason, your password should contain a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols. Password management programs can help you create and remember a top-notch password.

2. Go directly to your banking sites.

Scammers try to steal your financial information by tricking you into giving it to them. They do this by posing as your bank through emails or social media networks, in hopes that you'll follow their fake links and enter your log-in information on their page. 

Therefore, it's critical that you go directly to banking sites by typing the URL into your browser's search bar, rather than following advertising links.

3. Avoid public networks.

Shared networks, such as the ones at your local library or neighborhood cafe, leave you vulnerable to prying eyes of the digital sort. 

Technology is handy, not just for you, but also for others who might want to track your activity. That's why you should do your online banking from home, over your own private network. 

If that's not an option, take extra security measures by using a free virtual private network (VPN) service, or even better, turn off Wi-Fi on your phone and connect via cellular data instead. 

If you’re not sure whether your network is secure, contact Ottawa IT services for an audit.

4. Protect your computer.

Your home network is only reliable if your computer itself is safe and secure. Keep online intruders from compromising your privacy by keeping up with updates to your operating system. 

Also, install a strong firewall program, as well as antispyware or antivirus software. These help prevent your system from being hacked.

5. Keep on top of your accounts.

One of the best ways to know whether your accounts have been compromised is to keep a close eye on them. 

Look for unauthorized withdrawals, unexplained charges or other suspicious activity. If you do notice a problem, contact your financial institution right away.

Used wisely, online banking is an invaluable timesaver. There's nothing like being able to log in at any time to check on the status of your accounts. 

As long as you take the necessary precautions, online banking can be one of the handiest financial decisions you make.

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