Online shopping and transactions are a part of our everyday lives. You have probably been using online banking for years now, and nothing fraudulent has ever happened to your money. Unfortunately, your online financial account could be randomly targeted at any time. To protect your funds before someone decides to hack your account, you have to learn how to stay safe online and increase your security.
Table of contents
First of all, don’t use the same password for all online accounts. Cybercriminals may try the login information from another website to access your financial account. So your focus should be on creating a hard-to-guess password. It should be longer than six digits, contain symbols, numbers, and uppercase letters. If you have a hard time remembering your login information, write it down in a notebook. Don’t keep a list of your passwords on the computer.
Protect your personal information
We all use our first and last names online nowadays, and that is perfectly fine. However, avoid publishing your birth date on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram. Hackers will have an easier time obtaining your personal information if it is public. Also, don’t type in your social security number anywhere on the web. If a company or an individual needs it to confirm your identity, they can use other methods.
Know where you shop
Always shop on trusted websites. You can easily check if a webshop is secure by looking at its address. It should say “https://.” with the “s”. If there is no “s” in the web address, the webpage is not secure. Use PayPal as much as you can for online transactions. This service adds an extra layer of security to your financial account since you may file a dispute if anything seems suspicious.
Some online shops offer an easy payment option. While it seems convenient, this service could be potentially dangerous. It doesn’t include typing in your password. So always do this step yourself. There is no need to use the one-click payment. It is not a significantly faster way to get to checkout.
Install anti-malware software
Having antivirus software on your computer can help a lot with online transactions. Just remember to keep it updated since new security threats appear all the time. Switch on the auto-updates or do it manually once you load the app.
Firewalls can also help protect your data, so make sure you install one on your personal computer. You should have the latest version of a web browser of your choice, as well as the ad-block. A web browser can also boost your privacy and protect your data.
Don’t use public networks
Users should complete online transactions from the comfort of their homes. Using public networks can make your computer vulnerable. If you suspect that your connection might be unsafe, you can turn on a VPN to secure it. There are high-quality VPN services such as NordVPN available for users who want to protect their personal and financial information.
No debit card
If you have a credit card, use it instead of a debit card. Credit cards have limits, while debit cards don’t. Therefore, if a cybercriminal manages to break into your financial account, they will be able to spend more money than you currently have in your bank.
Not to forget that a debit card is directly linked to your financial account. That could be a problem in case of a security breach. Prepaid credit cards are another option for online transactions. They are specifically made for shopping and have a limited amount of money on them.
Write down your expenses
Every time you buy something or pay bills online, write down the transaction. It should include the store name, date of the purchase, and amount of money you spent. Once you get the monthly bank statement, check out if the data and numbers match.
Tracking numbers allows you to contact your bank in time and inform them about a problem (if there is any). The sooner they know about unauthorized online transactions, the better. Most banks offer fraud liability protection, so don’t wait a single minute if something looks strange to you.