When you first discover online banking, it seems like the most remarkable thing. Suddenly, you can keep track of your accounts, pay bills, and transfer funds without even leaving your house. Unfortunately, some people make mistakes that can cost them a lot of time, money, and peace of mind.
Mistake #1: They Choose Bad Passwords
Most online banks will make you choose a secure password that contains numbers, special keys, and capital letters. Some, however, leave you to your own devices.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a password that anyone can guess. That means you shouldn’t use your:
- Spouse’s name
- Pet’s name
Ideally, your password is completely random and has no connection to you.
Daily Mail also reports that the five most commonly used passwords are:
These are the first passwords thieves try when breaking into accounts, so never use them.
Mistake #2: They Check Their Accounts From Public Networks
Checking your bank account from a public Wi-Fi network is not a good idea, even if you desperately need to access your balance.
Unsecured hotspots make it easy for hackers to eavesdrop on information sent from your computer to the bank. As long as they can connect to the network, they can see what you’re doing.
When people complain that someone “hacked” their bank account, it’s usually because they inadvertently gave someone their passwords. If you’re accessing private information at a hotel, café, or library, you might as well pass out cards with your passwords printed on them.
Mistake #3: Falling Victim to Phishing Scams
If you discover online banking before you learn about phishing scams, then you’re the perfect target for a fraudster who wants to steal your personal information.
Phishing scams aren’t always obvious. In fact, some phishers are downright ingenious. They’ll create email addresses that look a lot like those used by your bank; they’ll steal your bank’s logo; and they’ll use a professional tone that convinces you they’re legitimate.
Considering that some scammers have great talents, it’s best to never respond to an email that’s supposedly from your bank. Your bank should have a message system within its online system that gives you a secure way to ask questions and receive answers.
Mistake #4: Letting Accounts Sit Unsupervised
If you have an Online Banking account, such as Discover online banking, you should log in and check it at least once a week. That’s the best way to make sure no one has stolen your identity or made purchases with your account.
If you let the account sit unsupervised, then it could take months for you to discover the theft. You might not even know until you get a letter from the bank telling you that you’ve overdrawn from your account.
You’ll have a difficult time unraveling months of fraudulent purchases, not to mention getting your money back and avoiding overdraft fines.
What other mistakes do you see people make with Online Banking? How do you keep yourself safe when you check your accounts online?
Matthew Thompson is a writer in Louisville, KY. He publishes articles about a range of issues, including economics and technology.