It can be hard to stay secure in today’s world. There are various threats that we face every day through the internet, and this can affect our financial security. Your bank account is vulnerable to numerous cybercrimes, from phishing to viruses. Any crime that takes place online can end up having your bank account as a victim.
A lot of people are surprised to hear that the best way to keep your bank account secure is by using very simple tips. The truth is, though, there are a lot of things you can do at home to ensure that your finances are secure. Here are seven simple ways to keep your bank account from falling into the wrong hands:
1. Check the machine
Scammers are always searching for creative ways to steal information. They’re attaching devices known as skimmers to ATMs. The device sits over the card slot and intercepts the debit or credit card data as it is entered. This allows thieves to later use the information to make purchases.
Before you place your card into the card reader, always check an ATM for:
- any signs of tampering, including scratches and marks
- anything that looks out of place, for instance different coloured plastic around the card slot
- anything that moves when it’s pushed (ATMs are built well and don’t usually have loose parts).
If you notice anything suspicious, report it to the financial institution that owns the ATM and use another machine.
2. Protect your PIN.
If you have a debit card, PIN entry is sometimes all that stands between a thief and your money. Unfortunately, PIN numbers are easy to steal, and there’s no foolproof way to guard against it.
Make sure to choose a strong PIN, but make sure it’s one you’re comfortable recalling. It’s common for thieves to tap phones and other devices, so a simple PIN like “1234” or “password” is less of a deterrent than a long one, like a phone number or your birthday.
Do not share this PIN with anyone and cover the keypad every time you type it out in public!
3. Safeguard your checkbook, debit cards, credit cards.
Keep an eye on your checkbook, debit cards, and credit card at all times. Always know where they are. In case you lost it outside, notify your financial institution immediately so that your card can be put on hold or canceled.
4. Always verify transactions made.
Online banking, with its ability to quickly move money around, can be convenient, but it comes with some risks. The convenience of online banking — you can transfer funds between your own accounts, pay bills or make payments online — can provide a tempting target for hackers. Financial institutions have taken measures to protect their customers from hackers, but it’s up to each of us to keep ourselves safe.
The first step in keeping your accounts safe is to always verify your transactions. Verifying a transaction means looking at your account balance, which you can do either through your bank’s website or mobile app. You can ask for a print-validated universal transaction slip, check your account using your online banking access, or run a balance inquiry via ATM.
5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication If Your Bank Offers It.
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) can add an extra layer of security to your bank login process.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security process that requires users to log in with an additional piece of information, typically a code sent via text message or mobile app.
For example, your bank may send you a code via text message every time you attempt to access your account.
Some banks also allow you to download a mobile app, which lets you request codes without your phone. Security features like this add an extra layer of protection, helping to confirm your identity and prevent unauthorized transactions.
6. Steer Clear of Public Wi-Fi.
Ask any cybersecurity expert what the biggest threat to our digital lives is, and more often than not, they will tell you it’s our reliance on public Wi-Fi hotspots.
We’re so used to using the internet for free — at our coffee shops, airports, hotels, and even our workplaces — that we forget that putting our financial data at risk is just another cost of doing business.
But with proper precautions, you can make sure your banking data is as safe as it can be.
For starters, avoid logging into financial websites or apps on public Wi-Fi. It’s too easy for a hacker to access your information through a public network, and then steal money from your account or open new accounts in your name.
It’s also a good idea to avoid logging into financial apps while you’re traveling. If you’re going to be using public Wi-Fi, make sure to change your passwords or consider using a banking app that isn’t available (or easily accessible) through your browser.
7. Be Wary of Phishing Scams.
While it sounds dramatic, phishing is the single biggest threat to your bank account security.
These scams work by tricking you into revealing your information, usually in a phone call. The scammers say they are with your bank, usually trying to get you to reveal your PIN.
To avoid becoming a victim of phishing, make sure your bank is who they say they are. Before you give information over the phone, ask for the name of the actual person with whom you are speaking.
If the name is not familiar to you, hang up and call the number on the back of your bank card. Another tip is to never click links in the email or on websites you don’t know.
Beware of emails that ask for personal information. Phishing scams often try to trick you into sharing personal information, such as your account numbers, Social Security number or date of birth.
GOOD SECURITY IS NEEDED EVERYWHERE.
If you notice fraudulent activity on your bank account, notify your financial institution immediately.
When it comes to protecting your livelihood or assets, don’t take any chances – always use an appropriately licensed security provider.