Many things have changed since the invention of the internet. One of these is how we conduct banking and access our accounts. For example, you used to have to go into a local bank branch to make deposits and withdrawals. Now, you can take a picture of a check and deposit it from your phone. 

Approximately 73% of people worldwide use some form of online banking at least once a month. People have never had such convenient account access. But that convenience can come at a cost.

In 2021, account takeover fraud increased by 90%. New account fraud jumped a whopping 109%. As the ease of online banking has grown, so has banking-related cybercrime. If someone breaches your Facebook account, it can be a real pain. But, if a hacker breaches your bank account, it can be devastating. It can mean significant losses. Sometimes these are losses you may be unable to recoup from your financial institution. In this article, we’ll look at the mistakes people make that leave their accounts at risk. Then, we’ll go over some essential tips on how to keep your bank account better protected.

Mistakes That Allow Criminals to Access Your Account

Not Enabling Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple process that packs a big punch. However, enabling this setting in an online account requires an extra step to gain access. That step usually consists of receiving a one-time passcode (OTP) by SMS and entering that at login. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of leaving this disabled. They either don’t know it’s there or think it’s too inconvenient. But leaving this setting off makes it much easier for a bad actor to breach your account. 

Falling for a Phishing Scam

Several types of phishing scams target online banking. Cybercriminals send emails that look like they come from your bank. They’ll even promise meager rates on credit cards. Other scams can involve warning you of unauthorized account activity. But when you click the link to log in, you’re on a fake page. One designed to look just like your typical bank website. These are just a few ways scammers can get your online banking login details. Once they have them, they’ll act immediately to get whatever they can. 

Using Easy-to-Guess Passwords

If your account password is easy to remember, it’s also often easy to guess. Unfortunately, using weak passwords is a common mistake that enables many cyber criminals.

Some best practices for passwords include:

· Make them at least ten characters long

· Include at least one number

· Include at least one symbol

· Include at least one upper-case letter

· Don’t make them personal (e.g., don’t use your birthdate, etc.)

Downloading Unsafe Mobile Apps

Banking trojans hide in malicious mobile apps. These apps can look like something as innocent as a task manager. But, once installed, banking trojans seek out any details. They are looking for banking and wallet apps.

Logging Into Online Banking While on Public Wi-Fi

One surefire way to give away your online banking password is to log in while on public Wi-Fi. Hackers hang out in public hot spots and spy on the activity of others. So you should never type in passwords or other sensitive details when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Tips for Improving Online Banking Security

Turn On Two-Factor Authentication 

Enable two-factor authentication in your online banking account. Synonyms of two-factor authentication include multi-factor authentication or two-step verification. According to Microsoft, it can block 99.9% of fraudulent account login attempts.

Set Up Banking Alerts

Time is of the essence when an intruder breaches your account. The faster you can notify your bank of the breach, the better. You could reduce the impact on you by having your account locked down immediately. Set up banking alerts through your online banking. These can include things like low-balance alerts and login alerts. 

Install an Antivirus & DNS Filtering On Your PC & Mobile Device

Having reliable antivirus software on your PC and mobile device is essential. Unfortunately, many people don’t think about protecting their phones this way. Yet, they shop online and bank via mobile devices. It’s also good to use a DNS filter. DNS is a filter that protects you from going to dangerous phishing sites by blocking them.

Take Phishing Training Classes

Do you know how to identify phishing? Are you up on all the newest scams? You can make yourself less vulnerable by taking some phishing awareness classes. There are many of these for free online. You can also contact us for more personalized training options. Knowing how to spot phishing via text, email, and phone can help avoid becoming a scam victim. 

Get Help Protecting Your Family from Scams

There are some critical digital solutions we can put in place to keep your family safer from online threats. So give PCS a call today to schedule a chat about online security.

The article was used with permission from The Technology Press.