Here are a few ways that you can safeguard your financial information while banking and shopping on the internet.
Take extra precautions when logging in
Use a strong user ID and password. It should include upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using your birth date, anniversary date, address, or a pet’s name.
Most hackers will attempt access to multiple accounts, so use a different user ID and password for each of your accounts.
Keep your user IDs and passwords private, and remember to change them regularly. When you’ve finished with your online session, be sure to log out of your account before closing your browser window.
When you log in to your financial accounts, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid public computers and Wi-Fi networks that aren’t secure; using them could expose your personal information.
Review your bank accounts regularly for signs of fraud
The more familiar you are with your transactions, the earlier you can detect irregularities within your account. If you bank online, check your accounts regularly to spot and report errors or fraudulent activity, just as you would with a paper statement. Early detection of fraudulent activity is important to avoiding a potential financial setback.
Keep your software current
The most recent version of your software will protect your computers and mobile devices with the latest technology. But it will only last for a while. Be sure to perform regular software updates so that you’ll receive the most current data protection for your accounts.
Install anti-virus software on your computer
Anti-virus programs can prevent, detect and remove malware (malicious software) from your computer. Malware can access your computers and steal information such as account numbers, debit or credit card numbers, user IDs and passwords.
Just be sure to research your options before downloading anti-virus software. It’s important to choose a reputable company. Sometimes hackers disguise their efforts as an anti-virus program.
Use secure technology
Before you enter your personal information online—such as your name, address, birth date, Social Security number, phone number or credit card number—be sure that the company is reputable and uses encrypted technology to protect your personal information.
To know if a website is secure, look for the padlock or shield symbol in the address bar. The site will also have a web address that starts with “https://”. The “s” represents the word “secure.”
Use discretion on social media sites
Don’t put anything on social media that you wouldn’t want the whole world (including hackers) to see. Often, hackers gain access to your personal information through social media. They scan for your place of birth, mother’s maiden name, birth date, pet names and more. So make your social media settings private, and only allow your family members and friends to view your profiles.
Educate your children on cybersecurity
It’s never too early to talk to your children about Internet safety. First, educate them on the risks of sharing personal information and monitor their Internet activity. Then make sure their devices have the latest software updates. You can also place parental controls on devices your children use for an additional level of protection.