10 ways to bank safely online

Online banking is convenient, but how safe are your online habits? We present 10 ways bank safely online.

Though the Internet has eased the way we conduct our banking transactions, it has also opened the gates to a slew of theft and hacking activities all over the world. Online banking is largely a secure exercise, but it is vulnerable to fraud and phishing attempts despite your vigilance. Your bank may also put in place several security controls for your safety. Still, it is always prudent to be safe by following these 10 safe online banking habits:

1 Never reveal your login credentials to anyone. You may receive a call ‘from your bank’ asking you to verify your card number and PIN – ostensibly as a security exercise. Do not part with the data and note down the caller’s details and number. Notify your bank immediately of such a phone call. No bank authorizes its personnel to ask customers for confidential information.

2 Beware of phishing attempts. Phishers are adept at redirecting unsuspecting customers to fake sites that trawl your information and start stealing from your account. If you receive an email/SMS from your bank asking you to avail of a special offer or sign up for a new product, simply delete the email and block that web address.

3 Do not respond to emails from persons claiming to be employed by your bank. You might receive personalized emails from a person who signs off as your bank’s employee, informing you of special privileges and reward points. The email will contain your bank’s logo and other marks to make it look as authentic as possible. Remember: your bank’s promotional emails will not have any clickable links in it.

4 Do not click on banking links in third party sites. Many of us are used to clicking on links in online articles, emails and newsletters that direct us to third party sites. Do not click on ANY banking-related links in any material you find online. Just visit the bank’s Internet banking site to conduct all your transactions instead of clicking third party links.

5 Bank from a secure terminal. This is an important habit to inculcate. You may bank using your smartphone or your personal laptop, but NEVER bank from an open Wi-Fi connection or a publicly shared terminal. Even when using your personal digital devices, be sure to log out of the site or app every time your transaction is finished.

6 Do not verify your details when an email asks you to. You might receive emails asking you to ‘verify your details’ as part of your bank’s customer verification norms. No bank asks its customers to verify their details on emails; this process is done on the bank’s Internet banking platform directly.

7 Sign up for two-factor authentication. If your bank is serious about your online banking safety, it will incorporate the two-factor authentication in its sign in process. It might seem cumbersome every time you log in, but it is essential.

8 Change your password every month. It is always safer to change your password as frequently as possible, and verify it using an OTP sent by the bank. Make sure the password is an alpha-numeric one and is hard to guess. Never include your name, date of birth or phone number in it. Also, set a couple of security questions with secret answers in case you need to recover your password.

9 Enlist for SMS alerts. Every transaction that takes place via your account, however small, must instantly be recorded and sent to you via SMS. Your bank will set up an SMS alert system for you, which is helpful to track your account’s activity. You will know at once if somebody attempts to use your cards or log into your account without your knowledge.

10 Activate anti-virus software on your computer. A good anti-virus software detects malware and hacker attempts. It will also alert you in case a log in attempt was made from a browser or location that you normally do not use.

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