(SPOT.ph) With the quarantine keeping most of us at home, we have now relied on online transactions for just about anything. Monthly bills are paid via mobile apps, money transfers are taken care through the Internet, and shopping is now conveniently done with a touch or a swipe on our phones. This also means that our own information can easily get to the wrong hands if we don't protect them.
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We round up 10 ways to keep your online bank account safe:
Change your password frequently
Passwords, no matter how private they are, can easily be hacked in various ways. Change your password every few months, as recommended by experts in a report by Business Insider, or if compromised, make sure to change it ASAP. It also helps to put in a combination of complex codes with alphanumeric characters, symbols, and at least one capital letter. Try to avoid "1234" or "password" or base the numbers off your birth date.
Turn on two-factor authentication
Much like having extra layers of authentication when some other device logs in to your Facebook or Gmail account, most banks also have the option to enable two-factor authentication. Do this if you can so that when a hacker using another device tries logging into your account, you'll easily get an alert through text.
Avoid automatic log-ins
As much as you want your computer or mobile phone to automatically sign in thanks to your saved password, it might not be the safest thing to do. Phones and laptops can be stolen and along with these devices are passwords for your most important financial accounts. The same tip applies for those who use public computers and devices—never save your credentials on such devices for your own safety.
Sign-up for text alerts
Most banks let you enable text alerts for one-time password (also known as OTP), a recent purchase confirming the amount and date, or withdrawal of a large sum of money. It may get annoying especially if you receive text after text after a whole day of online shopping (no judgment here!), but it will save you in the long run. And just a reminder for all banking transactions: Never share your OTP with anyone!
Don't open suspicious emails and links
Some advanced hackers can make it look like they're sending you an e-mail under your bank's official address. Known as phishing, these messages sometimes say that you have to reconfirm your account through a link—and as a result, obtain sensitive information from you. A similar fraudulent attempt via suspicious links is smishing, which us done through SMS—thus the name. As a rule, don't click on links that look funny or sketchy, and make sure to check that the e-mail accounts are the official ones used by your bank for customer announcements.
Avoid using public WiFi
Public WiFi, as much as it's helpful when you have to finish a report while in a coffee shop, doesn't have the most secure connection. Make sure that your bank's web address starts with "https://" and not "http://" because the former means its encrypted and safer. Still, if you can, avoid doing your banking errands while using public connections.
Vishing, on the other hand, is done when voice messages are used to obtain personal information. If someone calls you and asks you to recite a text message out loud, they may already be using voice activation to take over your bank account. To be on the safe side, ask the caller's name and tell him/her that you'll call them back. More often than not, the scammer puts down the phone when asked to reveal his/her identity.
Use the mobile app
Accessing bank accounts via a bank's mobile app lets you enjoy additional layers of protection, as some apps offer security features such as PIN, pattern, facial or fingerprint recognition, et cetera. Some banks even allow you to link trusted devices to limit where you can access your account. Do note that features vary depending on your bank.
Keep an eye on your statements
Check your online transactions as frequently as you can just so you know when your card was last used or what the remaining amount in your bank is. It also helps to separately track the money that goes in and out of your accounts, so you'd instantly know if something is amiss.
Call the bank for any suspicious activities
Immediately get in touch with your bank as soon as you get a suspicious call, e-mail, or text. Same goes for when you notice suspicious transactions!
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