Thanks to sophisticated security measures, online banking is not only the more convenient way to bank, but it’s also safer. Though just like traditional offline banking, safe online banking requires making good choices.

Follow these tips to help make online and mobile banking as secure as possible.

  1. Protect your information – keep personal info personal. Do not share your personal information. Even if it sounds legitimate, if someone calls and asks for sensitive information from you, hang up and call your bank using the bank’s phone number on file. Your bank will never call and ask you to share your Credit Card Verification (CVV) code, your credit or debit card number, or your pin number.
  2. Protect your home WiFi network with a strong, unique password. Don’t share this password with others. Consider using passphrases. Passphrases are a series of random words or a sentence. (e.g.: I love green eggs and ham = Ilov3gr33n3ggsandh@m).
  3. Avoid using public computers or WiFi when banking online. Even if a page has encryption, it’s still smart to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. Use a virtual private network, your cellular network or your own home’s WiFi to access the internet when online banking.
    1. If you must use a public computer, refrain from logging into secure sites that store your information, and make sure you delete your browsing history—including cookies—once you’re finished using the computer.
    2. If your phone is connected to public WiFi, don’t disclose your personal information or enter password-protected sites.
  4. Diversify your passwords. Avoid using identical or similar passwords between your social media accounts, your personal email accounts, and your financial and banking accounts. Otherwise, if and when less secure systems are compromised, it’ll be that much easier to compromise your other data.
  5. Use strong and unique passwords. Use a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lower-case letters. Consider using passphrases. Avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary. Change your password regularly for extra protection.
  6. Actively monitor your account. Check your online banking account often. Banks are good at recognizing fraud, but they might not always spot every questionable transaction among every customer. Review your account frequently to quickly spot any suspicious account activity.
  7. Pay and receive money only with people you know. Many online and mobile banking tools allow you to send and receive payments to and from others. If you don’t know the recipient, you shouldn’t use online or mobile banking to make a payment. These transactions are risky, similar to how sending cash to a person you don’t know is risky. You should exclusively send money to friends, family, or people you trust with online and mobile banking.
  8. Set up email or text alerts. Alerts can give you immediate notice of suspicious activity on your account.
  9. Do not overlook your mobile device. Your mobile should be treated like your personal computer. The security on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, has become increasingly important in protecting your personal and account information. The collection of an increasing amount of sensitive information through apps, communications, and operating systems puts anyone at greater risk.
  10. Protect your devices. Make sure any anti-virus software is up-to-date. It’s also smart to research anti-virus software and select one reputable provider. Installing numerous anti-virus tools can slow down your device. Make sure your anti-virus software scans incoming communications and files for viruses that could cause you trouble. Also, remember to:
  • Sign-out or lock your device(s).
  • Be aware of what is going on in the news with devices and scams.
  • Don’t let others use your device(s).
  • Set a pin or passcode to access your devices for an extra layer of security. It’s critical to be careful when creating these. Don’t use birth dates, parts of your Social Security or driver’s license numbers, your address or your children’s or spouse’s names. Someone trying to steal your identity probably has some or all of this information.
  1. Run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. A firewall is software or hardware designed to block unauthorized access to your devices. It’s especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection (such as from a cable modem or DSL line) because your connection is always open, so you’re more likely to be a target. Most common operating systems (including Windows® XP and Vista, and Apple’s OS X) come with a built-in firewall, but you may have to turn the feature on.
  2. Keep your contact info current. Don’t forget to notify your bank if you move, change your primary email address, or get a new phone number. Contact information can be updated through online banking. 
  3. Replace your mailed paper statement with online statements to lower your risk of identity theft. Declutter your mailbox and eliminate the danger of having personal information readily available to thieves, who can reach into a mailbox mid-day and retrieve a target’s mail.