Would you like to save money by banking on the internet? Have you avoided internet banking because you are afraid of fraud occurring on your account?
Internet banking is a very convenient way to bank but there are concerns about the safety of data. Some simple steps ensure that your information is kept safe.
CHECK THE COMPUTER
If you are accessing the net from a public location or work, check the computer to ensure that there are no devices attached to the computer anywhere. Fraudsters use such devices to glean information from a computer and could thus access your details.
USE A DIFFICULT PASSWORD
Don’t use your ID number, cell phone number, e-mail address or date of birth as a password. These are the first things a fraudster would try. Decryption software used by fraudsters would crack such a code in under a minute. If the fraudster is a co-worker or relation, they would also know to try these things. When choosing a password, I always try to choose one that has nothing to do with me personally. I also use a combination of letters and numbers as well some of the following: %, &,*, @, .I also use a combination of capital letters and small caps letters. A code like this is a lot harder for decryption software to crack and virtually impossible for a fraudster to guess.
DON’T GIVE YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE EVER
Don’t trust anyone with your password. Don’t even trust your child. In the thirteen years that I’ve worked in the bank, about 80% of cases of theft from a person’s bank account have been perpetrated by someone who lives with the person. We’ve seen many cases where a boyfriend or daughter is the fraudster. Never give your password out via e-mail or telephone. No bank official will ever ask you to do this. If you receive an e-mail from the bank asking you to enter your account number, etc, someone is trying to defraud you. Report this to your bank immediately. If you receive any phone calls, report them also. If you think it may be a valid request, contact your local branch BEFORE giving any details out. Above all, use commonsense. Why would the bank ask for your account number if they are contacting you?
IF YOU SUSPECT SOMEONE KNOWS YOUR PASSWORD CHANGE IT
If you think your colleague may have seen your password, change it immediately.
DON’T WRITE YOUR PASSWORD DOWN
This is a common error. With hundreds of pins and passwords to remember, it is tempting to write them down. DON’T do it. Chose a password and use it on every site you register for. Memorise the password. At least you’ll be sure that no one is reading it.
BE CAREFUL GIVING OUT YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS ON THE NET
The site should have a Verisign padlock to show that it is a secure site. If in doubt, do not purchase on the site. An alternative is to open a Paypal account (In South Africa we can open them to send money out but not to receive in.) to pay for goods from overseas. Paypal then debits your designated credit card without you having to enter your card details on every site you visit.
ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
Check your account at least once a week. Most banks have a money-back guarantee on internet transactions if you haven’t been negligent with your password. This is not to say that they will refund you for weeks and weeks of fraudulent transactions. It is rather hard to believe that a fraudster went mad on your account for 3 weeks before you realised it. Also bear in mind that such claims can take weeks to resolve so prevention is definitely better than cure.
SET DAILY AND MONTHY LIMITS
These limits can be annoying but if you only earn $5000 per month, how often are you going to need to transfer $20 000? Set you electronic payment limit to the amount you usually transfer monthly. That way, there are limits to money that can be accessed fraudulently. If you need to transfer from your home loan once a year, have the limits increased temporarily.
Keep these basic tips in mind and internet banking can be a secure, convenient and inexpensive way to bank.