When you chose your bank, you were careful to select a branch that was loaded with security cameras and was FDIC insured. Now that your funds are seemingly securely stored in checking and savings accounts, you naturally feel at ease and relaxed about the safety of your money.
Unfortunately, while the bank itself may be a secure place to hold your hard-earned cash, there are plenty of ways that your money may be at risk. Knowing what these dangers are can help you take steps to avoid them and falling prey to financial predators. Check out the following tips:
Watch Those Banking Apps
Yes, it is super convenient to check your balances on your smartphone, pay your bills from your account and maybe even deposit a check. However, smartphones have a number of security issues that can make it risky to conduct these types of transactions. From mobile malware issues and crooks who have figured out how to reverse engineer the banking apps, to people who accidentally leave their bank account info open and then set their phone down in public, it is more than possible to have your bank account info stolen. To avoid all of this, scan your phone for malware on a regular basis, change your password often and when you are done using the app, sign out each and every time.
To reduce the chances of your banking information (and probably your identity too) being stolen in the mail, sign up for paperless online banking statements. Carefully review each statement once it shows up in your email, watching for fraudulent charges that you didn’t make. In addition, consider asking your employer to directly deposit your paychecks; this step will reduce the chance of a criminal getting a hold of your account number from a paper check.
Invest in a Shredder
If you have a credit card or two or three, you are probably really familiar with those convenience checks that the company sends out every couple of months. Unfortunately, criminals know all about these as well, and they are known to look through your trash and recycling bins looking for them, along with other types of personal data that will give them access to your bank account. Purchase a shredder and regularly destroy any type of bank related document that you wish to discard.
Sign up for a Credit Monitoring Service
Despite your best efforts, your bank account may still be compromised. With the steadily growing rate of identity theft, it is important to have a protection, monitoring and recovery service. Consider signing up for a service that will monitor all of your accounts 24/7 and send alerts if they notice anything suspicious. Then, if the worst happens and one of your accounts is compromised, the service will get to work restoring both your money and your good credit.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Like the Plague
The best place to do online banking is from the security of your own home. With public Wi-Fi, you can’t be sure who will see what you are sending online. If you do feel the urge to check your account balances while sitting in a coffee shop, consider using your cellular data plan instead of your Wi-Fi or use a virtual private network.
Author info: Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.