Online banking, remote bill payment and even mobile wallet applications have taken consumer financial information into the digital space in a big way. However, as with any digital transaction, cybersecurity is always a concern.
Financial companies are constantly working to prevent the compromise or loss of consumer information. But in the end, a consumer’s data is only as secure as the precautions they take themselves. Below, 13 experts from Forbes Finance Council offer tips to help consumers keep their digital financial information secure.
1. Do your online banking at home.
Resist the urge to do online banking when you’re bored. I’ve been trapped at the airport waiting for a flight and what do I see? Weary travelers figuring this is the perfect time to log on and pay some bills. Never trust the Wi-Fi in airports or coffee shops when you’re accessing your money. There are just some things you should only do at home—wearing pajamas, flossing your teeth and banking online. – Howard Dvorkin, Debt.com
2. Do your research and ask key questions.
We recommend doing some research before choosing online accounting and bill payment platforms. Find out what data will be stored on the platform and what measures the platform takes to make sure data is secure. Is there a limit or time frame that the data will be stored and available? Does the platform have options for users to restrict access to the information? – Greg Kniss, KROST CPAs & Consultants
3. Enable multifactor authentication.
Multifactor authentication is critical when it comes to protecting client and consumer financial information online. Ensuring there are multiple barriers to entry by hackers is key. Working with a reputable company that has these precautions and procedures established for your online banking is essential. – Jonathon Hamburg, Berkeley Payments
4. Use a password management tool.
Some of my clients manage dozens of passwords for all of their online accounts. I recommend an encrypted password management tool to keep things secure. They are simple, inexpensive and invaluable for people who have to manage more than 20 logins. – Mia Erickson, Whitnell
5. Look for approvals from accredited bodies.
When banking online, it’s important to look for approvals from accredited bodies such as the FDIC. Also, people need to make sure their transactions take place on sites that have the “https” URL, that they are using secure passwords and that they are accessing information in secure locations. – Lamine Zarrad, Joust
6. Minimize your digital footprint.
To keep online financial information secure, users must first and foremost reduce their digital footprint. Individuals and companies should limit the exposure of their personal and financial information to a minimum. Whenever possible, users should enter one-time credit card numbers and activate two-factor authentication for all online transactions and accounts. – Christian Kameir, Sustany Capital
7. Always protect your devices.
Always do these six things. First, make sure to install and update your antivirus software. Second, make sure your firewall is turned on. Third, keep your operating software up to date. Fourth, be careful about what you download. Fifth, clear your device cache and browsing history. Sixth, turn off your device when you are not using it. – Frans Wiwanto, Flywire
8. Enable ‘failed login’ notifications.
Multifactor authentication—using more than one password to access an account—is a critical step in protecting your online financial accounts. Think of it as a deadbolt to ensure your security. Keeping with this home safety analogy, “failed login” notifications are like smoke detectors, alerting you to potential harmful activity by hackers and other bad actors. – James Dowd, North Capital
9. Get cybersecurity insurance coverage.
We all hope we will never use insurance, but in the cases when we do need it, we all wish we had higher limits and broader coverage. Just going through the cyber coverage application process will help you identify current best practices and you will easily be able to make decisions to lower your risk. – Snezana Obradovic, Outsource Insurance Professionals
10. Lock your credit scores.
I always assume that my personal information has been stolen. I always assume that my Social Security number is floating around the Web. So I lock my credit scores with all bureaus. This way, no one can open any new credit in my name and I am alerted if something changes in my credit report. – Michael Foguth, Foguth Financial Group
11. Consider different access levels for the team.
For an organization, online services are often accessed by multiple team members. It’s a bit old school but learn what access levels are available and how they vary. So, for instance, the business owner may have full access to an account, while one manager may only have access to view accounts and another has access for a finite function. Don’t just share your own access credentials. – Wm. Scott Page, LifeGuide Partners
12. Choose banks that use voice authentication.
Work with institutions that require hearing your voice before they move money out of your account. Don’t work with institutions that will move money with just a text or email. It’s easy for hackers to impersonate you via email or text and fool the institutions you work with. By requiring vocal authorization, you minimize the chances of your money being moved without your consent. – Bill Keen, Keen Wealth Advisors
13. Contact financial institutions directly.
Scammers posing as representatives of financial institutions will reach out to you via email, SMS or a phone call to trick you into divulging your personal data. Whenever you receive a fishy (or perhaps “phishy”) message about your banking or financial situation, reach out to the institution directly. This way, you can weed out potential phishing scams and identity thieves. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
— to www.forbes.com