Mobile banking has offered us so many conveniences. Now we no longer need to visit a bank to deposit or withdraw money from an account — our money is at the tips of our fingers. No matter how easy banking has become through mobile apps, questions of security still linger.
While the applications themselves are fairly secure, there are still plenty of ways that users can unwittingly give away information to the wrong people. So, how can you take advantage of mobile banking without making yourself susceptible to identity theft? Here are a few tips to help you use these apps safely:
Create strong passwords
As is the rule with anything online, you should set up your mobile banking account with a strong password. This means a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. You can also set up security questions with answers that are difficult to guess. You should regularly update this information and keep it to yourself. If you’re afraid you might forget it, you can use a password manager that’s not on your phone. You should also never allow the app to automatically log you in. If your phone is stolen, the last thing you’d want to do is give the thief immediate access to your bank account.
Only use secure networks
Public wi-fi networks, like those available in coffee shops, aren’t very secure, so it’s best to refrain from using your mobile banking app while connected to them. You never know who could be attempting to access the sensitive data transmitted over these networks.
Secure your device
In the event that your phone is lost or stolen, you should plan ahead so a thief can’t access your bank account. If you think your device might have gotten in the wrong hands, you can also notify your bank of the theft. That can help resolve any issues with unauthorized activity on your account. If necessary, some devices have security features that allow you to remotely erase all their content.
Don’t follow links
A lot of mobile banking apps offer SMS or text message alerts. These messages can tell users if their balance is low or credit cards are approaching their limits. However, consumers should be wary of some of the messages they get.
If you receive a text or email from your bank with a link, you should question it. It’s possible that the message is a phishing scam. Often these schemes try to “bait” victims by posing as a legitimate organization.The fraudsters behind the scam will set up a fake website and collect any information logged into it, like bank account details or Social Security Numbers. Sometimes they’ll just ask for the information via text or email – a request you should never fulfill. If you don’t want to dismiss the message as fraudulent, you should contact your bank or visit their website by typing it into your browser.
Research before you download
Before downloading a mobile banking app, make sure it’s the official app for the company. Sometimes there are apps on the market that resemble the official one but aren’t legitimate at all. If you’re worried about accidentally downloading a fraudulent app, you can go to your bank’s website to find a direct link to their app in the store.
While you enjoy how mobile technology has simplified so many of your daily tasks, keep your personal security in mind. Invest in a service like Identity Guard, to get notifications about certain activity that could be indicative of fraud.