Online banking is definitely one of the more recent banking innovations that will last, considering how much convenience it has given consumers and bank account holders. Online banking has made current accounts more convenient, for one, and it has also made tracking and checking funds for both current and savings accounts easier. There are additional benefits, of course, but these vary from bank to bank. Essentially, online banking has changed the way people use and access their bank funds.
There is, however, one major drawback to online banking: online banking frauds and schemes. While most identity theft cases still utilized the age-old techniques and methods to steal valuable information and goods from you to gain access to your bank deposits and credit line, a good number of identity theft cases also used the internet, and various programs and schemes to gain unauthorized access to your funds.
The only way to safeguard your current accounts and savings accounts is to be cautious and careful when it comes to accessing and using your online banking functions. But how exactly can you do this?
Be extra careful when performing online banking transactions, regardless of what you’re doing. Just because you’re not currently accessing your online banking portal doesn’t mean that unscrupulous individuals no longer have means to access and steal valuable information from you.
When you are online, always be cautious when clicking links. The link you’re clicking might contain Trojan viruses that can steal information from your computer and send it to cyber crooks who will use it to commit identity theft. A Trojan virus has the capacity to store all information you key in on your computer and deliver it to the source. It can get your username and password to your email and social networking accounts, among others. You can get yourself into so much trouble if your online current account or savings account user ID and password falls into the wrong hands. As a matter of fact, any kind of personal data can be used to commit identity theft and steal your bank deposits, so always be cautious when you are transacting online.
Be careful also when an online link is not clear. Cyber criminals can shorten a link using link shortening tools online (such as bit.ly). This can make the actual URL of the website hidden until you click on it. Never go to link that doesn’t show the URL. This applies to Facebook and other social networking websites such as Twitter and MySpace.
When you’re doing official transactions on your online banking portal, make the URL of the site read as “https” instead of just “http.” The additional “s” means the link is secured. When a site’s URL is without it, it means other people can see your online activity.
Never do online banking functions on a computer that isn’t your own, especially on public computers such as in internet cafes, public libraries, etc. These computers could be filled with virus and Trojans. Malicious spywares could be intentionally placed by unscrupulous individuals, hoping for an unwitting victim to access his or her bank account online, through the public computer. You should also be cautious with your online banking passwords. Never write them on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet, you’re only making it easier for identity theft to happen to you. If you have more than one account, try to have different passwords for each of them, or at least create variations. The reason is simple, in case one of your accounts gets hacked, the others remain safe.
Phishing is a scam used by online crooks to steal your online banking passwords without you being aware of it, at least until you check your current account or savings account and discover illegal fund transfers done online.
This is how online ephishing scam works: you’ll receive an email, supposedly from your bank, asking you to go to their online banking portal and input your password and account details for certain services or upgrades. The link on the email looks legitimate, so you click the link and do what the email says. Next thing you know, your account has been drained clean. The email was not from your bank and the link was made specifically to resemble the URL of your bank. The website may look like the original bank website but it isn’t your bank.
Phishing scams work because the scammers use tools that do not look suspicious, to con the victim. Remember, it is highly unlikely that your bank will email you regarding a major update of your current account, savings account, fixed deposit account, or foreign currency account. They also wouldn’t call you to verify your bank details or personal details.
Phishing is actually easy to detect. The links provided by the scammers aren’t very realistic if you look at it closely. And the email address of the sender is usually not an official bank email. Even if the email address of the sender is official, it’s still unlikely that official bank business will be sent through email.
You can avoid becoming a victim of phishing, if you’re cautious and alert.
Lastly, install the latest anti-virus and spyware programs on your desktop and laptop. A good anti-virus software, preferably the most updated version, can prevent viruses and Trojans from stealing information on your computer. Newer viruses cannot be screened by older versions of anti-virus programs, so constant upgrades and updates are necessary.
Do all of these mean online banking is safe? Not necessarily! Nevertheless, online banking remains to be a good alternative to physical banking, and is a good complimentary service to the traditional banking functions. All you have to do is be alert and cautious. As these examples show, many of the online scams are quite easy to detect and easy to stop. Never assume that you are safe online, and always consider the unknown as suspicious. You can never be too cautious when it comes protecting to your savings account and current account funds and deposits from online scams.