Millions of Americans use online and mobile banking to manage their financial lives. While the service is convenient, is it safe? Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com says if consumers take reasonable precautions, their information should be secure. He suggests following these seven steps:
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Set strong passwords
Tumin says passwords for your online and mobile accounts should be long, complex and not easily guessed by thieves. If fingerprint or face ID is available to you, make sure you use it.
Use a secure network connection
Never use public Wi-Fi to conduct any financial transactions.
“Criminals could intercept the communications and be able to take things like your password and login information,” Tumin says.
If you do decide to use public Wi-Fi, he says you should use a virtual private network or VPN to ensure your connection is secure and your data is encrypted.
Install updates regularly
Make sure the operating system on your smartphone and PC is up to date with the latest upgrades.
“A lot of those upgrades include updates to their security to fill in any holes that might exist,” he says.
Run security software
DepositAccounts.com says some mobile phone users do not consider security software as important for their devices as they do for their computers. Tumin says owners of PC’s and Android mobile phones need that added level of security.
“Security software including anti-virus and anti-malware can be used to make sure that doesn’t infect your computers,” he says. “iPhones don’t have those same issues.”
Sign up for protection
Monitor your account for any suspicious activity by signing up for fraud monitoring or identity protection services.
“If someone is pulling your credit or applying for a credit card, for example, those kinds of monitoring systems would be able to alert you,” Tumin says.
Use a security-focused bank
Tumin advises consumers to choose a bank that makes security a priority. What protections and features do they provide? How secure is their mobile app? How do they authenticate you when you log in?
Monitor your accounts
Review your statements monthly. If there are any unauthorized transactions, report them to your bank immediately.
“If you do that as the last line of defense, that will make sure you are protected should anything happen,” Tumin says.
Linda Bell joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in 2014 as an assignment editor. She is an award-winning writer of business and financial content. You can follow her on Twitter @lindanbell