Investing in Your 20s and 30s: How to Protect Yourself when Banking Online

By Eric Tyson

The attractions of banking online are pretty obvious. For starters, it can be enormously convenient, as you bank when you want on your computer. You don’t have to race around during your lunch break to find a local bank branch. And thanks to their lower overhead, the best online banks are able to offer competitive interest rates and account terms to their customers.

You probably know from experience that conducting any type of transaction online is safe as long as you use some common sense and know who you’re doing business with before you go forward. That said, others who’ve gone before you have gotten ripped off, and you do need to protect yourself.

Take the following steps to protect yourself and your identity when conducting business online:

  • Never access your bank accounts from a shared computer or on a shared network, such as the free access networks offered in hotel rooms and in other public or business facilities.
  • Make certain that your computer has antivirus and firewall software that is updated periodically to keep up with the latest threats.
  • Be aware of missed statements, which could indicate that your account has been taken over.
  • Report unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company as soon as possible; otherwise, your bank may not stand behind the loss of funds.
  • Use a complicated and unique password (including letters and numbers) for your online bank account.
  • Log out immediately after completing your transactions on financial websites.