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Finance 101

4 Ways to Practice Safe Banking

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Jake Ward

Online banking via your computer or mobile device is a popular and efficient way to transfer funds and keep track of your money. But there are also many ways your personal information can fall into the wrong hands. Don’t be one of the few who have their information stolen. 

Free public Wifi!

That sounds great! Not so fast. Many unsecured “wifi hotspots” can be easily accessed by hackers that take information from your computer through the free, unsecured wifi. In general, most places that offer a public Wi-Fi hotspot warn users not to share sensitive information over the network. If you need to access your account information, you may want to switch to another network. Or if you're using a smartphone or other cellular device, disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to using your data plan is a better option. You never know who might be snooping around over a public internet connection.

Thieves are “Phishing” for your information.

You may have heard the term phishing before (sounds like fishing). Phishing is a way of tricking someone into revealing private information. Fishing and phishing are actually pretty similar. There’s convincing looking bait, and a benefit with each catch. The bait may be a text message, an e-mail, or a fake web site designed to look like a financial institution's official site. Do not send your information to one of these texts or e-mails. Go to your financial institution’s web site directly by typing their address into the computer web browser and then save it as a bookmark. If you are unsure about any message, or e-mail you have received from R.I.A., please call or contact us and ask. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Use official online banking sites and apps when possible. 

Usually when banking through your computer or your mobile device, sending your information through the home banking web site is safe and secure. Mobile apps are also more secure than the traditional e-mail or text transaction. Most banking apps encrypt the information being sent. This helps protect against potential thieves and hackers. 

R.I.A. FCU also offers ShazamBolt$, an app that closely monitors your debit card transactions and notifies you of any suspicious account activity.

Lock your pockets. 

Horrifying scenarios go through your mind after you misplace your wallet, purse, or keys. But what if you misplace your cell phone or tablet? Lock your mobile device with a password or PIN on any device that you have used to bank. It sounds simple enough, but it could give you enough time before reporting your phone as missing. There are also apps that allow you to completely disable and wipe most data from a mobile device in extreme situations. 

Taking computer and mobile security seriously is the first step to strengthening your overall protection. This information is not meant to make you worry, but to be aware. If you can start protecting yourself using these simple steps and looking into upgraded security, it might just save you a little grief down the road. It you have any more questions about banking security read our security articles. Please feel free to contact us anytime we are more than happy to help answer any questions you may have.