How to keep your online financial accounts secure

Online scams are now routine. Whether it is via phone calls, emails, or text messages, there are people out there who want to con others and get their hands on easy money. With the constant change in technology, it is sometimes hard to keep up with security updates and the latest in security. But, it is not hard to ensure that all your online banking information remains safe and secure. Here are a few tips you can follow to avoid being the target of identity theft or money fraud.

Secure your Password
The golden rule in today's online world is to have a secure password with upper case alphabets, lowercase alphabets, numbers, and special characters. A simple password such as "Password123" is unadvisable. Your online bank accounts should have a secure password that cannot be guessed even with hints, except by you.

Weekly Checks
If you regularly use your checking account to shop online or pay your bills, pick one day each week where you will go through your transaction history. If you have an app on your phone where you keep track of your budget, it should be relatively easy to tally each purchase or bill payment. Keep tabs on how much spend also to make sure you are within your budget.

Investigate Suspicious Transactions
When you see a transaction you do not recognise, don't chalk it up to bad memory. Investigate to find out where the transaction happened. Maybe you have a physical copy of the bill lying somewhere. Try to go through the events of that particular day. If you still cannot recall the transaction, call up the bank's customer service to figure out if it was a fraudulent one.

Upgrade Apps
Most banks offer mobile apps for convenience. Whenever you see an app update make sure you install it to keep up with better security changes. Obsolete technology might make it easier for hackers to get into your account through your phone when it is connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

Protect Your Electronics
Whether you use a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or desktop to access your bank account, you should make sure each device is secured with a password. Protecting your devices means protecting your bank account. If you lose your device, no one should be able toaccess the sensitive information inside it.

Before Discarding Old Electronics
Before you get rid of your old electronics, make sure you perform a factory reset or wipe it completely. We often link our social media accounts to other apps, which contain sensitive information. In fact, it is advisable to go a step further and change the passwords for all-important accounts once you have discarded a device, to ensure maximum safety.

Public Computers
Computers that are used by the public are a complete no-no when it comes to checking your bank account or conducting transactions. If you are visiting a cyber café, try to avoid accessing such sensitive information. If you are at an airport killing time, it is not a good idea to use the computer terminal to check your bank account.

Phishing Emails
Despite algorithms that weed out spam emails, some still manage to get through. Beware of any emails that might first ask you for personal details and have a subject like ‘loan application’ or something that contains an attachment.

It is not hard to keep your information secure, but for this, you need to be alert and smart when it comes to passwords, security questions, and protection of electronic devices. There is no harm in checking transactions that you do not remember, because falling into a fraud trap is a nightmare that none of us want to experience.

Disclaimer : Copyright Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

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