Cashology by FNBO
Keeping Your Money Safe Online
People are doing everything online these days – staying in touch with friends, checking the news, shopping and banking. Our money, like so many other aspects of our lives, is now mobile. Today, consumers shop more on their phone than they do in-store. And nearly three-quarters of consumers bank online and/or use mobile banking apps. So how do we keep our money safe online? That’s the question for today.
How important is having a strong password – whether we’re talking about your account at Amazon or your online bank accounts?
- This seems like real obvious advice but your password either makes things easy or hard for hackers.
- Some of the most common mistakes are using your name, address or date of birth.
- Short passwords or common words or simple number combinations are also bad ideas.
- And you don’t want to use the same password for multiple accounts, which a lot of people do.
- You want to have a different user name and password for every online account.
- And you want to update them regularly, about every three months.
- A rule of thumb – a password that’s easy to remember is easy to hack.
- Try using longer phrases, using upper and lower case letters, including numbers and special characters.
What about two-factor or multi-factor authentication? How does that help?
- It’s an extra step, after you enter your user name and password.
- And it really steps up the security of your account.
- For example, you may need to enter a special code that gets texted to you, verify your account through an automated phone call or identify a pre-selected image.
- More people are using this. They enter their user name and password and then a special code gets texted to them on their mobile device. They enter the code and then access their account.
- This makes your account a lot safer.
- The special code is one-time use only and sent only to your device.
- So every time you want to access your account you go through that process.
What other steps can we take?
- I tell everyone I talk to – avoid using public Wi-Fi, especially when you’re shopping or banking on your device.
- You can’t count on public Wi-Fi to be secure.
- Say you’re at the local coffee shop – nearby hackers via public Wi-Fi can easily eavesdrop on your online activity and get your information.
- Stay away from public Wi-Fi or any kind of public hotspot for any kind of financial transaction.
What if you’re traveling or out in public and there are simply no other options?
- If you have to use it, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.
- Disable public file sharing on your device.
- And only visit sites that are encrypted.
- An easy way to check for encryption is to look for the “https” in the site’s URL.
- You’ll see a padlock icon to the left of the URL in your browser.
- And be sure to sign up for bank alerts.
- Bank alerts are one of the easiest ways to stay on top of your financial information.
- They’ll come in a text or email and let you know about new transactions or login attempts.
- And if you get an alert about a login or transaction you don’t recognize – call you bank.
We hear a lot about Phishing scams, Phishing emails these days, too. What can we do to protect ourselves from giving up our personal data to one of these scams?
- Phishing scams are often email scams. Sometimes they’re phone calls.
- The email will give you a link or login to what looks like a legit site, but it’s really a dummy website. They’re trying to capture your login information or other personal data.
- Another type of phishing email invites you to click on a link. Don’t do that.
- These links can automatically download malware onto your device that then tracks your keystrokes and identifies things that look like user names and passwords.
- If you’re worried about whether an email is legit or not, the easiest thing to do is call your bank.
- Call and verify the email is legit if you’re even the slightest bit worried.
All the same rules for our credit card and debit card accounts?
- That’s right. We access those accounts online, too, checking transactions and balances.
- We’ve got these Be Kind Debit Cards now and my motto is be kind to your money and keep it safe.
- Just follow these same guidelines for your cards.