I have been banking online for over 10 years now (at ING Direct and Perkstreet Financial) and have never had a single incident. But after Citibank got hacked last week a lot of people are wondering how safe online banking really is.
The truth is there is risk, but there is just as much (if not more) risk using a traditional bank. The key is to be vigilant to protect your data and information as best as you can.
According to an article from Yahoo Finance:
“Using the Internet to bank, buy music, or shop is still as safe or safer than visiting brick-and-mortar locations, as long as consumers take precautions and know what to do if they notice any suspicious activity. In fact, the overall trend is a reassuring one: 2010 actually saw fewer records breached than the previous year due to new infrastructure in place, says Julie Conroy McNelley, senior fraud and risk analyst at research firm Aite Group. Today, she adds, ‘banks have some of the most sophisticated mechanisms in place.'”
How to keep your bank account safe
The article gives a few tips on protecting your information and doing your part to ensure the safety of your bank account. Here are a few of the noteworthy ones…
- Don’t click on hyperlinks within emails from strangers and be cautious of those from friends.
- Treat your smartphone like the computer it is. It should should be guarded just like your laptop or desktop computer.
- Don’t pick easy passwords – invent a new word or acronym to make it more difficult to guess.
- Buy a shredder and use it (or store) your financial mail.
- Respond quickly. If you have been hacked call your bank immediately!
Use a service to help
A couple weeks ago I wrote about a free service called Bill Guard which helps consumers fight back against erroneous charges and fraudulent activity.
Do you bank online? What precautions do you take to keep your info safe?
Photo by Tristan