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  • Burton Kelso, Tech Expert

7 Tips For Safer Online Banking



The Internet has changed the way we bank. We can make banking transactions from the comfort of our home or directly from out smartphones. Think about it.  When was the last time you stepped foot into a bank? I know it's been a long time since I've been inside a bank. Banking online is very convenient, but you always have to be aware that online banking and financial services comes with some very dire challenges and risks. Want to stay safe when banking online? Let me show you some basic tips that you need to use to make your Internet banking safe. 

There are many people who feel online banking isn't safe or by not banking online they are keeping their information safe.  I hate to tell you this,  but if your bank offers online banking, then that means your information is online as well. If online banking scares you, it's not the end of the world.  You data is safe.  You have to be the one who practices safe habits. Follow these steps:

1. Make Your Passwords Strong and Keep Them Different. Yes, it's a pain in the butt to use complex passwords for your banking accounts, but a strong password is your best protection against hackers.  I know I've stated this in many tips I've shared, but so many of you fail to understand how serious you need to take your passwords. Reminder: Your banking account password needs to contain upper and lower case letters, with a combination of numbers, and symbols. Change your passwords on a regular basis, and make sure you have different ones for all of your accounts. Need help remembering those passwords, use a password keeper program like LastPass.

2.  Always Be On The Lookout For Identity theft. Our society isn't completely digital yet. We still need to carry around paper forms of ID such as drivers licenses and passports. If you lose any form of ID, report it to the police immediately. Make sure you're shredding any paper items that contain your personal information before you toss them in the trash.  Watch what information you share on social media.  With all of the data breaches of late, it might not be a bad idea to get identity protection services like LifeLock.

3. Don't Fall For Phishing Scams. I think at this point everyone knows what a phising scam is, but most of you fail to realize that these scams are how most people get taken advantage of.  Most phishing scams are socially engineered which means they are designed to make you react to the scam, rather than think about the information you are receiving. With that said, 

never open suspicious or odd messages – delete them immediately.  Never, provide confidential information in emails or text messages. Always remembers, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

4. Make sure your devices have the latest security udpates. It sucks, but you need to make sure you have the latest updates on any device you use to connect with your bank. Updates are can seem to take forever, but you need them. Just last week, I had a Windows update almost ruin a presentation, but at least I know my laptop is protected. Never bank on a device that is running an older version of your OS software.  Windows users need to use Windows 10.  Macintosh Users should be running MacOS High Sierra.  iOS users should be running 11.2.6 and Android users should be running Oreo. 

5. Use 2 Step verification if your bank offers it.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept, 2 Step verification is the process of using 2 steps to verify with your bank you are who you say you are.  Normally you log in with your password, and as a backup precaution you bank may ask you for a second password to log in.  Not fun, but it will keep you and your online account safe. Most banks offer this, but check with your bank and enable this immediately.

6. Please, check your bank statements and reconcile your accounts. With the accessibility of our banking information, many of you don't reconcile your accounts like you should. It never hurts to manually check your statements every month to make sure your transactions are yours.  Many scams start off with small amounts being withdrawn from you accounts. 

7. You can't just bank online everywhere. I love WiFi, but you can't just hop on anyone's WiFi and bank.  There are hackers lurking out there and sometimes they will setup fake public WiFi networks designed to steal your data.  If you have to bank wirelessly, bank on your own wifi ... at home.  Better safe than sorry.  You are safe if you bank on your cellular provider's network, just keep a close eye on your data plan. 

Don't be afraid to bank online.  Just make sure you keep an eye on your indentity, security and your identity!

I'm Burton Kelso and I'm a Kansas City based Tech Expert and the Chief Technology Expert at Integral, providing on-site and remote support for computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, printers, and any device that connects to the internet. I regularly appear as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com 


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