It is critical to have good safeguards and practices for our financial transactions, as losses arising from financial fraud can considerably impact us. Rising cybercrime incidents, phishing attacks, and ATM hacks have made it even more critical.
Here are some good safeguards and practices to follow;
Use virtual keyboards
Almost every banking website we use today has the option to use a virtual keyboard to input your credentials while logging in to your online banking account. This method is a safer option than using the physical keyboard to enter your login credentials.
Often, hackers or malware that have gained access to your computer system use software like a keylogger, which tracks the keys you type on your physical keyboard, to steal your usernames and passwords. Using virtual keyboards, in turn, prevents such information from being logged or tracked.
Use SMS or email alerts
Most digital banking and financial services we use today have the feature to send us alerts via SMS or email when a transaction happens. If there is a value associated with the alert, set it to the lowest level so that you receive alerts even for the smallest of transactions.
Scammers and hackers often make multiple transactions of small values rather than a single high-value transaction to avoid alerting the user or the bank’s security system.
Use One-time-password (OTP) for logins
Today, most online accounts provide the option to log in using a one-time password (OTP). A uniquely generated temporary password like an OTP is more secure when typing in internet browsers, especially in public spaces or work.
This method is better because, when using OTPs to log in online, they are randomly generated before being sent to your mobile or email directly for one-time use and are valid only for a short period after which the OTP expires. As an additional safe practice, make it a habit to delete emails and SMS with the OTPs once you finish using them.
Create a secure PIN for your banking cards
Just like a secure password for your online accounts, a secure personal identification number (PIN) can go a long way in securing your debit or credit cards from misuse.
Never use your or your family members’ date of birth as your PIN. It is effortless for a scammer or hacker to find this information, sometimes just through your social media accounts. Also, never save your PIN in your smartphone’s contact book. Anyone with access to your smartphone or contacts can quickly access the PIN, making it unsafe.
Anytime you think your PIN could be compromised, immediately change it via your internet banking website or bank’s mobile app.
Set limits for your banking cards
If you use debit or credit cards and don’t need to use their maximum limit all the time, then it is a good practice to set a transaction limit for the card. Most banks and financial services allow you to set these limits online or via their mobile app. You will also have multiple options to set upper limits per transaction, for the day, for online use, offline use, or while using the card abroad.
Set these limits according to your usage pattern, and this way, even if the card or its details fall into the wrong hands or are misused, you can minimise the financial losses you incur to a large extent.
Secure your documents
Just like the password-protected financial documents and statements you receive via email, it is also a safe practice to password-protect documents with your financial information before you save them onto your system. This way, only you or users with the knowledge of the password can access those document files.
Some applications also allow you to set an extra password in case the information needs to be modified; this way, only someone authorised with the password can change the information in the document.
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