Nowadays, you can do everything online. From shopping, hiring services to pay bills, everything is convenient at the click of the finger. With everything digitized, information can also be available to anyone, 24/7. This includes all the data you put into your transactions – the card you use for swiping, your details, and even your bank account information.
Now, an important question should already come to your mind,
“How do I protect my bank account information securely?”
In Australia alone, online fraud or misconduct reports have increased to more than 200%, evidently due to the pandemic. The top scams include phishing, false billing, and identity theft which involve banking transactions.
To keep your bank accounts protected from these online fraudulent schemes, here are some essential things you must remember before you make your transactions:
1. Make sure your bank information is kept secure and confidential
To secure your personal information, you should always be on guard when giving out your data to anyone, even online transactions. Even by simply signing up using your data, by setting up an online account, or shopping from an online store, these can serve as gateways for scammers to have access to your sensitive information.
Viruses can also be used to obtain information from your desktop or mobile device. There are various sites online where you can download files you need for free, and these are often loaded with viruses that often latch with the downloaded files. Aside from these, hackers also use paper documents containing your details, such as bank statements and receipts.
You should choose a bank that ensures they have foolproof technology and a security system to secure their clients’ personal information. Gateway Bank is one of these banks that you can trust, with its customer service readily available to heed your reports when it comes to unauthorized access to your personal bank information.
2. Regularly review your bank account statements.
If you frequently use online banking for day-to-day transactions, it would be wise always to check your bank and credit card statements. Looking out for suspicious discrepancies should not be put on the back burner, as some hackers can be very precise and stealthy when accessing personal information.
You can also sign up whenever you set up an online account for regular updates and notifications whenever there are transactions on your bank account. This way, you can keep tabs on your account’s activity and not miss any unauthorized transactions.
3. Choose your passwords carefully and keep them confidential.
Perhaps you are one of those who use the same passwords with all the various accounts you sign up for. However, it would be wiser to have different passwords for your other accounts, and most importantly, never share them with people you cannot trust.
It is also essential to put up passwords that won’t make anyone who shouldn’t have access to your account easily guess it. An example is using your birthdate as your password. This is just too obvious and would pretty much lead cyber hackers to use this information to access not only your bank account but even other accounts you have online.
4. Learn to distinguish fake emails and websites from legitimate ones.
Another way that scammers usually employ to collect personal information from their victims is through phishing. Phishing happens when victims are contacted through email or text message, in which they are lured to provide their personal and sensitive data.
An example of phishing is when you receive an email that looks like it was sent by your bank and has a link to a website that looks like a legitimate one. When you click the link provided and log in using your details, such as your actual login details, as if you are logging into your online account, that becomes an opportunity for them to steal your password.
Although these emails may look realistic, there are several details you can look for to spot if what you receive are fake:
- The email or web addresses are spelled out weirdly or looks strange;
- They would ask you to do something, not in the usual way of your regular transactions; and
- The site requiring you to log in does not have the padlock symbol when you look into the address bar.
5. When encountering problems, report to your bank immediately.
In a report published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, 10% of victims do not immediately report any data misuse. Respondents of the study involved in such a report admitted spending an average of 34 hours dealing with the consequences of the misuse of their personal information.
By immediately contacting your bank or going to the ACCC Scamwatch website, authorities can right away track these scammers and save you the stress that comes with retrieving your bank account if it has already been hacked into.
While doing your bank transactions online can potentially lead to your accounts being hacked or be prone to fraudulent charges, using these practices as aforementioned in this article can help you avoid problems. Above all else, always trust your gut and deal with things carefully.