Online Banking -- Secure Transactions In An International World

You may be wondering whether online banking is secure enough to be used for transactions on a regular basis. For the most part, online banking is a safe means to conduct banking transactions. However, you should be aware of some common pitfalls and online banking scams that exist so that you can take appropriate measures to safeguard yourself from being defrauded.

Avoid Becoming a Phishing Victim

"Phishing" is the term given to the process when an unauthorized person calls or emails you in an attempt to get you to disclose your personal information that could be used to conduct fraudulent activities against you. Phishing for your online banking credentials is an extremely common tactic, and the evolution of phishing schemes is making more and more people a victim of such fraud. Never disclose any personal information in response to emails or phone calls you get, no matter how trusted the source is and how pressing the need is made out to be in the communication that you receive. As a last resort, you can always appear in person at your bank to clarify any requests they may have regarding your account.

Ensure Online Banking Session Authentication & Security

When you visit your online banking site, ensure that the website address (the URL) is one that you recognize to be accurate. In most cases your bank will have a digitally signed security certificate that you can use to crosscheck the authenticity of the website you are visiting. The second thing you must verify is that the session should have appropriate security and encryption technology enforced while you are entering login and password credentials into the site. Most institutions use 128-bit SSL encryption technology to ensure the integrity of the data that is being transferred between the bank’s servers and your browser. You can verify this by noting the presence of an engaged padlock symbol that is present within your web browser. Most modern online banking sessions now authenticate you through a two factor authentication process. An additional personal security question may be asked if you are logging into your online banking interface from a computer that you have not used in an earlier session.

Safeguard Your Authentication Information

Your online banking login and password information should not be shared with anyone. You should also avoid keeping your password stored in your computer or mobile phones since these can be accessed by third parties or stolen altogether. If you feel that your authentication information has been compromised, most banks now allow you to instantly change your login and password information through the same online banking interface. For maximum protection against fraud, you should choose a strong alphanumeric password and make it a habit to change the password at least once every month.

Scrutinize Your Transactions Regularly

You should make sure to carefully review each and every transaction on your bank account. This will help you ensure that all transactions on your account are valid and help you catch any transactions that are unauthorized. Timely reporting of such unauthorized transactions will typically allow you to get a refund from your bank and start an investigation.

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