Proper internet security can help protect you from fraud. Stay safer with these 10 tips to help protect you online.
As your options for banking and purchasing online grow, so does your need to safeguard your privacy and security while using the internet on your personal computer, tablet or mobile device.
Online security can be as simple as frequently reviewing your bank accounts to stay on top of things and making sure you report any fraudulent transactions promptly. But what else should you do to stay safe online or when using a mobile device?
The following 10 online security tips can help you protect yourself and your money.
- Use strong passwords for all your accounts. A strong password (one that is not easily guessed by a human or computer) will have 8 or more characters, including letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure to use different user IDs and passwords for your financial accounts and for any other sites you use online.
- Don't use any part of your Social Security number (or any other sensitive info, like a credit card number) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN). If someone gains access to this information, it will be among the first things they use to try to get into your account.
- Don't respond to emails that claim to be from your bank (or any other company) requesting your account details. No bank is ever likely to approach you this way to ask for personal information.
- Be wary of email attachments and free software from unknown sources. You could end up exposing your computer (and the information on it) to online fraud and theft.
- Be mindful of how much personal information you share on social networking sites. The more you post about yourself, the easier it might be for someone to use the information you post to access your accounts, steal your identity and more. Maximizing your privacy settings on social networking sites can also help protect your personal information.
- Be careful about what (and where) you click online. Look for security-enabled website addresses that start with "https:" (the extra "s" indicates security). These sites take extra measures to help secure your information. Keep in mind that links you receive in emails or in messages on social networking sites can be harmful or fraudulent, even if they appear to come from friends. Requests for personal information or a call for immediate action are almost always a scam. If you suspect the link might give you a virus or steal personal data, don't click on it. Talk to the sender directly and make sure it came from them.
- Secure your smartphone with a screen lock. Many mobile devices give you the option of locking your screen with a password, helping you keep the data on your smartphone secure.
- Keep sensitive personal information and bank account numbers and passwords off your phone. Some banks offer secure mobile access without having to expose your account information or passwords.
- Keep your computer operating system, your internet browser and your mobile device software up to date with the latest security patches. For mobile devices, this may require synching with your computer. Also, be sure to use anti-virus and anti-spyware software: They help find and remove viruses and spyware that can steal your information.
By following these online and mobile security tips, you can help protect your personal information and help prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. If you suspect information related to your bank account has been compromised, contact your bank immediately for assistance addressing the issue.