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Five tips to safeguard your online bank account security

Many industries are putting an increasingly stronger emphasis on their online presence, and banking is no different. If it’s been a while since you stepped inside a bank, you’re part of the 78% of American adults who prefer to bank online or use a mobile banking app, according to Forbes. As the technology powering financial services platforms becomes more robust, more consumers than ever before are choosing online banking as a fast and easy way to manage their money.

While online banking is both convenient and secure, there are a few steps you can take to further increase security and keep your bank account safe online.  

1. Lock down your login with super strong passwords. 

Gone are the days of getting by with a simple, easy-to-remember password like “123456” — still one of the most commonly used, according to Cyber News. Establishing strong passwords is your first defense against hackers who want to access your personal financial data.

Online banking security experts recommend that your password include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid short passwords. And do not choose a password that includes personal information, such as your date of birth or the name of your child or pet. Be sure to change your password on a regular basis, preferably every three to six months, and use unique passwords for each website. This lowers the chance that hackers can decode and ultimately steal your password and your money. 

2.  Double up online banking security with multi-factor authentication.

Think of your password as a symbolic lock on the door of your bank account. A second form of authentication acts as a powerful deadbolt — a second layer of security that protects your account from online intruders.

Multi-factor authentication is a security process that requires you to provide multiple methods to verify your identity — only then can you log into your bank account. The most common multi-factor authentication process starts with a standard login that includes your username and password. The bank or credit union then sends you a one-time code, typically by email or text. You must enter that code to access your account. Other forms of multi-factor authentication require you to answer security questions (what was your high school mascot again?) or use face identification to open the bank’s mobile app on your smartphone.

To learn more about Bask’s security features and about setting up alerts and notifications, visit our security center

3. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your bank accounts

It might be tempting to check your bank account when you’re shopping or running errands, but think twice before using a free, unsecured Wi-Fi network at a mall, restaurant or airport to do that. Public Wi-Fi can expose you to security risks because there are typically limited security measures in place, making it easier for hackers to access sensitive data.

Some hackers even set up fake hotspots, or areas where you can connect to what look like free Wi-Fi networks. But they are actually traps, waiting for you to unknowingly divulge your bank account’s username and password. A good rule of thumb is to avoid accessing your bank account — both online and through your bank’s mobile app — on any public Wi-Fi network.

Instead, play it safe. Wait until you can log into a secure, trusted and password-protected network. 

4. Beware of phishing scams — and smishing and vishing scams, too

Today, there are so many financial scams that it can be hard to keep track of them. You’ll add words like phishing, smishing and vishing to your vocabulary. Regardless of what the scams are called, most thieves use the same tactic: gain access to your personal data either by email (phishing), text (smishing) or voicemail (vishing). With your information, scammers can do a lot of damage, like drain your checking account, run up your credit card bills or even take out a loan in your name.

These scams are increasing at an alarming rate. Recent data by the Federal Trade Commission shows that bank impersonation is the most-reported text message scam, accounting for $330 million in consumer losses in 2022. 

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency offers these tips to avoid becoming part of that eye-opening statistic:

  • Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
  • If you believe a contact might be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself.
  • Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited internet request.
  • Review your account statements regularly to make sure all charges are accurate. 

5. Stay on top of your online banking activity.

Staying informed is vital to being part of today’s digital world. It’s also your best defense in securing your bank accounts. Monitor your transaction history on a regular basis to make sure there is no fraudulent activity.  

You can also sign up for email or text alerts to notify you if there is any suspicious activity, such as multiple failed login attempts, a password change or a large withdrawal from your bank account (learn how you can do this with Bask Bank online). If you get an alert and suspect fraudulent activity, contact your bank immediately and change your online password.

By following these five tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts and keep them safe, secure and protected.  

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