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Be Safe When Doing Online Banking

Art Gib -- Sometimes convenience comes at a price. With online banking, make sure it isn't due to carelessness and lack of awareness.

It's a miracle of modern technology that people can do nearly all their banking online without even setting foot in a financial institution! Most banks and credit unions offer the convenience of online bill paying, direct deposit, and other great features which frees us up to do other things with our spare time. If you do a lot of your banking online, know how to protect yourself and do it as safely as possible.

-- Never do any online banking while accessing the Internet via an unsecured wireless network. When you tap into a hot spot such as in an airport or other public area, you must remember that the information you transmit may be hacked into by persons with sinister intentions. Such people lie in wait, eager to access any financial or other sensitive information that they can get their hands on. Make sure the Internet network you use is secured.

-- Choose your bank or credit union wisely. The bank you choose to use online should also be one that has a physical building you can walk into when you need to do so. It is risky to bank with a financial institution in another state if you have no means to truly verify whether or not it is legitimate. There are Internet defrauders who set up false Web sites for non-existent banks. Be wary.

-- Does your financial institution encrypt incoming and outgoing information? Encrypting is a sophisticated means of scrambling information so that it appears jumbled to those who are trying to access it using illegal methods. It is a wonderful safeguard that helps to further protect your sensitive data. Your bank's Web site should have an icon at the bottom of the screen field showing a picture of a lock or key or both: this indicates that encryption is going on.

-- Be careful when choosing your pin or access code. Don't use information that would be easy for a thief to guess, such one of your children's names or the numbers for your birthday.

It would be ideal for you to use a pin or password for your banking that you do not use for any other purpose or to access any other Web site. If you have a hard time remembering different passwords or pins, keep a small notebook near your computer to help you recall which to use when. You should also change your banking pin from time to time for added security.

-- You must log on to do internet banking, so MAKE SURE TO LOG OFF at the end of your session to avoid accidental mistakes or unintended leakage of information.

Art Gib is a freelance writer. If you are a Massachusetts resident looking for a strong MA credit union that offers online banking services, contact Workers Credit Union for more information.

© 2009 Art Gib

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