Online Transaction Safety Tips

Today's computing environment is obviously a lot more sophisticated than it was a few years ago. When the Internet was new, there was barely a trace of criminal activity. Unfortunately, as the Internet has become a way of life, and the population has grown, so have the less desirable elements. It is unfortunate that we have to maintain such vigilance to protect what is ours but we try our best to make it easy for you. Here is a simple guide to protect yourself while engaging in online transactions, especially banking.

One of the first things to do is to make sure that your financial institution is utilizing all the necessary technologies to protect you. Read their security procedures. For example, do they make an effort to inform the customer what they are doing and what the customer can do.

  1. This may sound simple but do not just let anyone use your computer. Control its physical access.
  2. Should you need to be away from your computer, log off or shut it down.
  3. You guessed it - Passwords - change them frequently and make them difficult to guess. Like we said before, think Passphrase not password.
  4. Do not give your password to anyone; do not save them on the web site or leave a sticky tab on your computer with them.
  5. If you see something that does not look right on your account, immediately contact the financial institution. Don't wait to see if it will correct itself. If it looks suspicious, it probably is.
  6. Of course, install all Windows Updates, and antivirus and antispyware.
  7. Do not simply click on links in an email to your bank's web site. This is not a good practice as phishers prey on people who do so and simply direct them to their own criminal site. You know your bank's web site. You type it in the address line of your browser and go there.
  8. After you complete your transaction there are a couple of actions you should do:
    • Make sure you actually log out from the site. Do not just shut the browser or browser tab. LOG OUT.
    • I think there is another step you can take to truly ensure privacy and security and that is to clear the cache - this is simple to do just click on the options or preferences for your particular browser and clean it out. If you are not sure on your particular browser look it up on help, type in cache and they will tell you how to do it. This may seem like overkill and may be you do not want to do it every time but if there is any public access to your computer, why take a chance.
    • At the very least shut the browser down, while this will not clear the cache it will fully sever the connection to your bank's server.

  9. Another thing I would not do is financial transactions on a public computer like an Internet Cafť, etc. This is not really a good idea. However, if you have to, make sure you follow the steps above.