Online Banking

Remember 1994 when bank cards were a novelty? Since then digital banking technology has come a long way, and today in Canada it’s estimated that 68% of consumers use online banking to make purchases, deposit checks remotely, check bank balances, transfer money, make bill payments, and more.

Whether you’re already an avid online banker or you’re just getting started, I recommend reading this article to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your money – and your identity! – safe.

Is It Safe To Bank Online?

With an increase in online banking comes increased risk of hackers, fraudsters, and malware capturing unprotected personal information. With all this increased risk, it makes sense to ask: is it safe to bank online?

The short answer is: YES! I’ve put together five tips to ensure that your passwords (and money!) stay safe:

  1. Create a strong password. This goes for your mobile device or home computer as well as for your banking app. This link can help you create strong passwords.
  2. Use a secure internet connection. If you’re using a mobile device, never us public wifi because this is where hackers, fraudsters and malware lurk! Always use your home wifi connection or your mobile data plan.
  3. Only login to secure websites. Look for the web address to start with https:// . These websites encrypt the data before sending it, which makes it unreadable to hackers and malware.
  4. Enable two-factor authentication. This is a bank feature that asks you to enter an additional piece of information when logging in, so you essentially have two passwords instead of one.
  5. Update your OS. Always accept and install updates for your operating system. These updates have built-in malware protection that keeps your information secure.  

Online Banking On Your Mobile Device

Using your mobile device is a convenient way to pay for online and in-store purchases. Maximizing the security features on your phone and in your banking app is the best way to protect your money. Let’s get started!

Regardless of whether you have an Apple or Android device, always set your banking app to require a login each time you open it. Touch ID is a quick and easy way to login, and since it uses your fingerprint, it’s also the most secure.  

Apple Tips

  1. Only download the official app for your institution, and only download it from the Apple Store. Apple puts every app through rigorous security testing before making it available to customers.
  2. Enable Touch ID or Face ID so that only you have access to your device and use it to make purchases. This feature is available on newer versions of iPhone and iPad. Follow this link to find out if your device has this feature, and follow the setup instructions.
  3. Download and follow the setup instructions for Apple Pay to make touch-less in-store purchases, which uses your phone to make tap purchases. 

Android Tips

  1. Only download the official app for your institution, and stick to downloading it from the Google Play store. Read the ratings on the app and do some research before downloading it; Android is open-source and typically has less stringent app testing.
  2. Enable Touch ID or Face ID so that only you have access to your device. This feature is available on newer Android phones and tablets. You’ll need to Google your device to find out whether it has this feature, and then follow instructions for setup.

What A Scam Looks Like

There are a lot of scammers out there, but unless they get hold of your personal information, they can’t access your money. They key is to recognize a scam before sharing personal or banking information.

First, the scammer will try and make you panic by creating a false sense of urgency. Your bank, credit card company, and the government will never use panic tactics or threats. You should never feel rushed to take immediate action.

Email Scams

These scam emails will appear to have been sent by your bank, credit card company, or the CRA, and will:

– ask you to send an immediate reply with your personal information, or

– download and install software (malware), or

– call a telephone number to speak with an agent

Never give out your personal or banking information via email, and don’t call the telephone number in the email. If it looks like it was sent from a reputable source, look up the telephone number for your area and call that number instead. 

Text Message Scams

Just like email scams, the text will appear to have been sent from an authentic source. Never respond to these text messages, and follow up directly with the institution by telephone call. 

Telephone Scams

These scams will sometimes start with a legitimate-looking email asking you to call a telephone number, or they’ll call you directly and demand personal information or money. Never give out this information, and don’t send money. Always discontinue the call, look up the telephone number for your area, and call back.

How Can I Help?

There’s a lot to know when setting up online banking. If you’re unsure how to get started, or if you think you’ve opened or downloaded malware on your device, call or send an email, and I’ll get you sorted!