Although mobile banking is relatively new technologically, its popularity has skyrocketed. Offering a convenient way for people to access their bank accounts and perform transactions on the go, it's no reason that so many people opt for mobile banking. However, while many cybersecurity experts say mobile banking is safe, it does come with some risks.
As a mobile banking user, it is essential to understand how to keep your personal information safe and detect and respond to any potential fraud. Below we discuss safety practices for mobile banking.
Keeping Mobile Banking Safe
Mobile banking is typically safe when used correctly and when you take the proper precautions. Banks use various security measures such as encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect your account information.
However, there are still risks that you should be aware of and steps you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to cybercrime. For example, people can use malware to steal your personal information or gain access to your account. Additionally, phishing scams can trick you into providing your login credentials to fraudulent websites. Following the safety practices below can significantly reduce the risk of security breaches and fraud.
Protecting Your Personal Information
Protecting your personal information may seem obvious, but not being careful about your personal information is an easy vulnerability that scammers can exploit. However, protecting your personal information is simple if you follow these steps:
- The first step in mobile banking safety is downloading a verified banking app from your bank's website. Usually, you'll go to a secure app store where you can download the right app. A banking app found outside of your bank's website could be a way for perpetrators to steal your banking information. If you need clarification on whether an app is legitimate, contact your bank to confirm.
- Never share your login credentials or personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, or banking information. You can use an encrypted password manager to provide extra security to your devices' passwords.
- Avoid accessing your mobile banking app on public Wi-Fi networks, as these networks may not be secure, and hackers can intercept your information. Instead, use your home Wi-Fi or use your cellular network when you're in public.
- Always opt for two-factor or multi-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires a password or PIN and another layer of security, like email verification or text message, to further secure your account.
- You can also take additional steps to secure your mobile device. For example, you can enable a passcode or biometric authentication to prevent unauthorized access to your phone. Your phone is the first defense against scammers, so you should take similar steps to secure it. You should also keep your device's operating system and apps up-to-date to ensure they patch any security vulnerabilities.
Detecting and Responding to Fraud
Even with the best safety practices, there is still a risk of fraud. Therefore, monitoring your accounts regularly and reporting any suspicious activity to your bank immediately is essential. Some signs of potential fraud include:
- Unfamiliar transactions on your account.
- Changes to your account information or login credentials that you did not initiate.
- Emails or text messages that ask for your personal information or login credentials.
- Receiving calls or messages from people claiming to be from your bank or other financial institutions asking for your personal information or login credentials.
If you notice any of these signs, contact your bank immediately to report the activity and take appropriate action. Your bank may be able to freeze your account or reverse unauthorized transactions to prevent further damage.
You can also take proactive steps to prevent fraud by enabling account alerts. For example, many banks offer alerts that can notify you of specific account activity, such as large transactions or changes to your account information. Also, many banks will inform you when someone has logged into an unfamiliar device. By setting up these alerts, you can quickly detect any potential fraud and take action to prevent further damage.
Although banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions heavily invest in cybersecurity to protect themselves and their customers, there is still a risk. However, following the outlined safety practices can significantly reduce the risk of security breaches and fraud.
Remember to protect your personal information, monitor your accounts regularly, and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the convenience of mobile banking while keeping your finances safe and secure.