How to Stay Safe While Banking and Investing Online
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
It's not uncommon for my techs at Integral to see our customers using their computers and technology for banking, checking investments and monitoring their credit score. That's one of the great things about technology. It allows people to get access to financial information instantly. There are many people we encounter that won't embrace working with online banking and investment and with all of the data breaches in recent years, it's understandable more of you are cautious about working with financial information online. I think it's a good idea for everyone to setup a way to access financial data from apps and websites, so I'm sharing some much-needed tips to help you stay safe when banking and investing online.
Most financial institutions do an excellent job keeping your information safe. Banks and investment companies have teams of data security people that are there to keep the bad guys away from your money. If a hacker gets close to getting into their systems, they lock it down. These people are monitoring threats 360 days a year, so online banking, trading and investments are very secure. Still, make sure you're doing the following to stay safe.
1. Your passwords need to be like the Hulk. I think by now everyone knows the Hulk is the 'strongest one there is'. So should your passwords. Strong passwords keep your online accounts safe. Yes, unfortunately, data breaches are pretty common these days, but it helps if you have strong passwords for all of your financial accounts. Have problems remembering passwords, use a password manager like LastPass (www.lastpass.com) which will allow you to generate different passwords for all of your online financial accounts. Don't want to use something like LastPass because you're afraid it will get hacked, use passphrases. Word combinations like 'stinkysloth2513' or 'rubbercello9034' go a long way in keeping your accounts safe. Also, make sure none of your financial account passwords are the same. Cyber-criminals love when you make your passwords the same.
2. Three is the magic number, but two will do. I recently did a seminar on cybersecurity and an attendee noticed that I forgot to mention 2 Factor Authentication. I mentioned a list of other things to keep your accounts safe, so it was a slight oversight on my part, but he was right. It is an important aspect of keeping those financial accounts safe. What is 2 Factor Authentication? Well, simply put, when you enable 2 Factor Authentication for your accounts, you get an alert on your smartphone or tablet that someone is logging into the account. If it's you logging in, you tell the alert that you're the one accessing the account. If it's unauthorized access, then the person on the other end will not be able to log into your accounts and you are alerted.
3. Don't get hooked. Phishing emails are the number one way people end up becoming victims of data breaches. What your emails carefully. When people sign up for online banking and financial accounts, they assume that email is the only form of communication when there is a problem. It used to be, but with all of the scam going around it isn't anymore. If you get an email that claims there is a problem with one of your online accounts, delete it and call your financial institution instead to verify there isn't trouble with your accounts.
4. Only access your accounts from a secure location. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm asking you to only access your financial accounts when you're at home. That's not what I'm saying. The whole purpose of online banking is to be able to access your financial information anywhere and you can. If you're out and about, you only want to access your banking information from your smartphone ... yes, because your signal from your cellular company is safer than hanging out at Starbucks to access banking data. You signal from your smartphone and your cellular data provider is a secure connection that criminals can't access. If you have to use a wifi signal because you want to save on your data plan, download a VPN like TunnelBear (www.tunnelbear.com) which will keep your banking information private on your phone, laptop and your tablet.
I honestly hope these tips empower you to use your devices and the internet to bank online. With constant access to your financial data, it can help you gain a little more financial freedom to plan for your future.
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If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.
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