Did you know that cybercrime could cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025? As more and more data floods the internet, servers and our digital devices, the risk that individuals, businesses and government organizations will have their data compromised grows exponentially each year.
That said, you can take steps to minimize your risk of having your data stolen or compromised, particularly when it comes to keeping your online bank account(s) safe.
Step 1 – Use a Strong Password
According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, credentials ― login usernames and passwords ― are one of the most sought-after data types by cybercriminals, so having a strong password for your account is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
A strong password is usually around 15 characters long ― the longer the password, the stronger it is. You should also include uppercase and lowercase letters and symbols. Avoid using personal information, recognizable patterns or common words in your password.
It’s important to change your password frequently, and you should also refrain from using the same password for more than one online account.
Related: Here’s how to make a strong password >>
Step 2 – Don’t Share Credentials or Personal Information
Once you’ve got a strong password set, don’t share your username or password with anybody. Write it down and keep it in a safe place in case you forget what it is. Alternatively, you can use an online password manager to help you keep track of your passwords.
The same goes for your personal information, as hackers can often use information like your birthday, Social Security number or your bank account numbers to try to gain access to your account through scams like phishing or phone calls.
Step 3 – Check Your Account Frequently
Monitoring your account regularly is essential to keeping your account safe as well. You can log in to your account online through your bank’s website or mobile app, where you can then view transactions, transfers and account balances whenever you like.
Carefully check each transaction in your checking and savings accounts, and be sure to keep an eye out for anything that looks out of place, such as unauthorized charges to your account or unfamiliar vendors in the transaction description code listed with the transaction amount. If you see anything suspicious, call your bank right away, and they can help you handle the situation.
Step 4 – Be Careful Where You Access Your Account
One of the most important rules to follow to keep yourself safe while online is to always be aware of what network you’re using when you’re pulling up websites, apps and account information. When looking at sensitive information, such as your bank account, make sure you’re using a password-protected private network ― not public WiFi.
For example, if you log into your bank app on your phone, be sure you are at home or at least somewhere with a secure internet connection that is only available to those with a password. While places like coffee shops and restaurants often offer free internet access to patrons while they are there, these networks are often accessible to anyone with a compatible device.
Step 5 – Update Your Devices Regularly
Whether you use your computer, tablet or smartphone more frequently, you should continuously install updates to your devices’ software. Not only will the updates keep your devices functioning smoothly and quickly, but they will also include security updates to keep your data safer when you’re using them.
Cybercriminals are always changing their methods to attack the technological blind spots of their victims, so be sure to read up on the latest scams and fraud so you know what to look out for.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud
Minster Bank can help you stay on top of protecting your financial information and identity with:
- • Community Shred-It events
- • How to report a lost or stolen card
- • Identity theft protection
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