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Seven Tips for Safe Internet Banking

Bill payments, money transfers, and opening a fixed deposit may all be made quickly and easily using internet banking.

With the advent of internet banking, people no longer have to waste time going to the bank and standing in line for hours. However, owing to the possibility of phishing—a fraudulent method of obtaining your personal financial information—this feature must be utilised with extreme caution.

Listed below are seven smart tips for internet banking.

1. Change your password regularly

The first time you log in to your internet banking account, you will need to use the password provided by the bank. However, you need to change this password to keep your account safe. Also, keep changing your password at regular intervals. More importantly, keep the password confidential at all times.

While some computer programs will automatically create difficult passwords to break into, you should still use different passwords on all your accounts. Use different passwords for each account, including online banking, credit cards, and other important accounts. You should also ensure your passwords are not found in readily available directories.

If you have forgotten a password or any account for that matter, and you need to access your account, it is best to call the bank instead of trying to get in online. Also, ensure that your security questions are answered accurately or change the information you give.

2. Do not use public computers to log in

If you’re not comfortable using the internet from public computers, such as those in libraries and coffee shops, do not access any online banking services from public computers. If you must use one, make sure your connection is private. If you use a public computer with internet access, log out of every account, site, and another service you’ve accessed. If there is a public computer you need to use, make sure you disconnect your internet connection to prevent others from using it.

You shouldn’t use an unsecured connection to online banking or to any other banking services. Whether you are connecting using a home wireless router, wireless modem, or cable modem, it is important that the data going through the connection is not being monitored by any other device. If a friend, neighbour or family member is available to monitor your connection, be sure they are not connected to the same Wi-Fi and are not the only person monitoring your connection. It is always best to use a dedicated Wi-Fi or cable modem connection to your home.

3. Do not share your details with anyone

Your bank will never ask for your confidential information via phone or email. So whether you get an apparent phone call from the bank or an email requesting your details. Use your login ID and password only on the official login page of the bank, which should be a secure website. Look for ‘https://’ in the URL when logging in; it means that the website is secure.

4. Keep checking your savings account regularly

Check your account after making any transaction online. Verify whether the right amount has been deducted from your account. If you see any discrepancies in the amount, inform the bank immediately.

5. Always use licenced anti-virus software

To protect your computer from new viruses, ensure that you always use licenced anti-virus software. Pirated versions of anti-virus software may be available for free, but they may fail to protect your computer from new viruses prevalent in the online world. Besides, you will get notifications for updates in the software periodically. Make sure that you keep your anti-virus updated so that your confidential information is always protected.

6. Disconnect the internet connection when not in use

Most broadband users do not disconnect the internet connection on their computer when they are not using it. Malicious hackers can access your computer via an internet connection and steal your confidential banking information. To keep your data protected, ensure that you disconnect from the web when you do not require it.

7. Type your internet banking URL

It is safer to type your bank URL in the browser’s address bar than to click on links given in an email. There are instances of fraudsters sending emails with fraudulent website links that are designed exactly like the bank’s original website. Once you enter your login details on such a site, hackers can use these details to access your account and steal your money. While logging on, check for ‘HTTPS://’ in the URL and ensure that it is your bank’s official website.

When visiting a website for online banking, you should ensure that the site is from a trusted bank or financial institution. You should always enter the URL into your browser address bar or search for it on a search engine. This way, you will be sure you are accessing the correct website. Although not always the case, it is possible that a site could be a phoney site pretending to be the correct bank or financial institution’s site. If the site has a green address bar and is in a trustworthy colour, the site is safe to access.

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