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7 Tips for Keeping Your Bank Account Absolutely Secure

So many things today are done virtually. You can pay your bills online, work off of the Internet, and even manage your bank accounts from your mobile device. It’s a convenient way to access your money and shop for the items that you need, but it can leave your bank account vulnerable to security breaches. If you want to enjoy easy access to your bank account, here are some ways to keep it absolutely secure:

Be Careful When Choosing a PIN

If you use your debt card often or you withdraw money from ATM’s, you’re going to need a PIN that you can remember. You don’t want others to know that number because it’s a simple thing like your social or your birthday. Make sure it’s unique and that it can’t be accessed by looking at basic information in your wallet. Also make sure it is more complex than Harry Connick Jr.’s PIN.

PIN codes should be more complex than simple things like 1111 or 1234 or even 9876.

Download a Security Program before Accessing Your Account Online

If you’re going to download your banking app on your phone or access your account online via your laptop, make sure the security software has been fully updated recently. Generally, with mobile phones, you’ll get software update notifications frequently when there are new security patches.

If you’re using a work computer, be sure to follow the rules left by the computer tech support company that your employer has hired to avoid a security breach. With updated security programs, you should be safe logging into your account.

Use Temporary Card Numbers for Online Shopping

If you can’t pass up the online deals that you stumble across while surfing the web, protect your banking information and never provide your card number to the vendor. You can either use a service like Paypal, so that you don’t give up confidential information, or you can do business with a bank that has special offerings. Bank of America offers ShopSafe, which lets you create a temporary card number if you’re buying from an online vendor that you’re skeptical of.

Beware of Keystroke Loggers

When using a public computer in a CyberCafe, or Hotel Business Lounge beware of “Keystroke Loggers” which can be either hardware or software installed on a public computer that records all the keystrokes entered into the computer and then either emails them or stores them for later retrieval. If you enter account numbers and passwords on one of these computers the hacker will be able to get access to your accounts. According to Make Use of   “One weakness of keyloggers, however, is the fact that you can’t keylog what isn’t typed. That’s where automatic form filling becomes useful. If a password is filled in automatically by your PC, without any keystrokes, the password will only be susceptible to keyloggers the very first time you type it.” So if you use a program like RoboForm to store your passwords the keystroke logger can’t read it. Roboform has a version that can be stored on a “ThumbDrive” so you can keep your passwords safe and then just plug the drive into the public computer to enter your passwords.

Another good safety measure is to be sure the antivirus software is up to date and working before you enter any passwords.

Set Up Notifications

You can find out pretty much anything about activity on your account without picking up the phone if you set up banking alerts. Ask your bank to text you when transactions post of when someone logs into your account and you can spot something fishy before all of your money is gone.

Spoofed WiFi aka. “Evil Twin” Networks

A spoofed WiFi network is basically where someone logs into the regular WiFi and then sets up their own network and allows you to log into that one. This works well in places like hotels that don’t offer Free WiFi access. The spoofer pays to get access and then offers “Free access” to unsuspecting guests. So if the main hotel access is “Hilton WiFi” the spoofer might create a new network called “Hilton Guest” or even “Hilton WiFi 1” once you log in through this spoofed connection all your activities will be monitored and recorded.

I attended a seminar once, where one of the speakers announced that his account had been hacked the previous night and his game character had been stripped naked and left weaponless. While someone probably just thought this was funny, it could have been worse. It could have been his bank account that was left naked.  To prevent that from happening always ask the front desk for the hotel’s wireless network name and don’t use any other networks.

Don’t Make Purchases on Open Wi-Fi Networks

Accessing open Wi-Fi networks can help you save your data for when you need it. Unfortunately, if the network is open it’s not secure. When you enter your information into your phone and submit it over the information superhighway, it could be grabbed by a hacker and used to fund their own purchases. If you have to access your account online from a location you don’t trust, set up a virtual private network (VPN) also called a “tunnel”. This allows you to have an encrypted connection with a network you trust and access your bank through it.

VPNs cannot make online connections completely anonymous, but they can usually increase privacy and security. To prevent disclosure of private information, VPNs typically allow only authenticated remote access using tunneling protocols and encryption techniques.

The VPN security model provides:

  • Confidentiality such that even if the network traffic is sniffed at the packet level, an attacker would only see encrypted data
  • Sender authentication to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the VPN
  • Message integrity to detect any instances of tampering with transmitted messages

No one wants their private banking information to be released into the world for prying eyes to see. If you’re worried about security, consider these tips. Dedicating yourself to practicing good and safe banking habits will make all of the difference.

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+

Comments

  1. Bobby Saint says:

    I like that you provided some tips on how to keep your bank account secure such as choosing a PIN that is hard to guess by other people. If you will be using your ATM or debit card to withdraw money, it is best to choose a PIN that is unique. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about someone else stealing your identity or you becoming a victim of phishing. I would make sure to keep this in mind always. Thanks.

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