Protecting Your Financial Information Online

With mobile and internet technology advancing on a daily basis, it’s easier than ever to handle your finances and banking information from anywhere, using your computer or mobile device. However, with new technology comes new ways for cybercriminals to access your personal and financial information and compromise it. According to a study from Pew Research, more than half of all smartphone owners use their device to access mobile banking, and while this accessibility can make your life easier, it’s also important to know how to stay safe.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your mobile banking accounts:

Keep your personal information a secret.

This is Password 101 for anyone who’s ever used the internet, but keeping your login credentials a secret is key for securing your accounts. If you do need to give that information to a trusted third party, do not do so via email or text message. If someone contacts you asking for your information, claiming to be from a financial institution, do not give it out.

Opt for two-step authentication. 

When you log into your mobile banking account, you may have the option to opt in for two-step authentication for additional security. It adds an extra step to your login process; when you enter your password, you’ll be prompted to enter a numerical code that you receive via email or text message. This step ensures that it’s you who is logging in and not a stranger. 

Don’t immediately trust certain emails or texts. 

One way cybercriminals attempt to hijack your personal and financial information is by sending emails or text messages that may look like they’re sent from a trusted source, but they’re not. Examples may include banks, credit unions, or retailers, but the links embedded in them are designed to fraudulently obtain your information. Look out for the sender’s email address – if it looks strange, don’t click the link.

Keep your passwords safe. 

We’ve all been there – you get ready to log into your mobile banking account, and you can’t remember your password. If you need to save your login information, use a physical notebook and keep it somewhere safe. Also, when building a password, create a strong one using letters, numbers, and symbols – and the longer, the better. Avoid using identifying information such as birthdays, anniversaries, or former addresses.