Online Banking: Consumer Safety Tips
Conducting your banking over the Internet can be a great convenience, saving you a significant amount of time and effort. Thanks to modern technology, people today now have the opportunity to view their account balances, check their transaction history, transfer money, pay bills and take advantage of a host of other services, all with the click of a button from the comfort of their own home, anytime, day or night. With the sensitivity of the info rmation being transmitted however, there are both security and privacy concerns that must be addressed. By taking a few simple and easy precautions, you can greatly decrease the risks associated with online banking and allow yourself to enjoy the benefits of this service without worry.
**Guard your personal information
**Make sure your banking website is secure
Only enter private info rmation onto a secure website that encrypts your info rmation while it is being transmitted over the Web. Encrypting info rmation simply means scrambling the data during transmission in order to protect against unauthorized access. A secure Web site can be identified by a URL which begins with ?https? (which means it is ?secure?). Some secure Web sites also use a small lock or key symbol to show that they are safe.
**Make sure your computer is properly protected
Be sure to install a virus protection program, check daily for online updates, and periodically scan all files on your computer.
**Review your bank statements every month and save your transaction information
Compare records and make sure all of the information is in agreement. Be sure to report any discrepancies immediately.
**DO NOT use easily identifiable passwords
Such things as birthdays, phone numbers, or first names are poor password choices. Use a combination of letters and numbers, change your password often, and do not share it.
**DO NOT open E-mail attachments from unknown sources
The most common way that computer viruses are being spread is through Email. Reduce the chances of your computer becoming infected by avoiding unknown attachments and immediately deleting any unexpected Email, no matter how persuasive the subject line may be.
**DO NOT have other browsers open while banking
**Make sure you are using the correct Web site
Be certain that you have entered your financial institution?s correct Web site address before conducting any online banking. There have been instances where fraudulent Web sites with very similar Internet addresses have been created in a deliberate attempt to lure customers into entering personal information such as their account number and password.
If you have any questions you can contact the Office of Attorney General?s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit our website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.