Tips for Safe Online Banking

Many American consumers are now using the Internet for their everyday banking needs. It’s convenient and fast and with the advent of “paperless” statements, it’s also environmentally friendly.

To keep your financial information secure, it’s important to use common sense and to make good decisions regarding your accounts. This can help you avoid the many scams lurking on the Internet and also costly surprises.

Whether your bank is a traditional bank with numerous physical locations or strictly an online banking institution, it’s important to make sure that the bank is legitimate and that your deposits are federally insured (guaranteed by the U.S. government). Here are some tips to help you keep your personal information and financial accounts safe while using Internet banking.

Remember that the Internet is a public network. Not only should you be vigilant in protecting your financial information, but also exercise caution when entering credit card numbers, a Social Security number, or other personal data.

Take advantage of the security features offered by online banks. Encryption is a method of scrambling your private information to prevent unauthorized access to your account. Most browsers will display a small icon on your screen which resembles a “lock” or “key”.

Choose passwords that are personally unique and change them frequently. Never use a birthdate or address as a password. Tightly control to whom you give your password.

Make sure that your Internet virus protection is active and update it regularly.

By following these simple procedures, you can enjoy the convenience of Internet banking while protecting yourself from scam artists and other illegal activity.