It feels like the internet changed everything these days. A prime example is how we bank and access our accounts. Gone are the days of going into your local bank branch to make deposits and withdrawals. Now, you can take a picture of a check and seamlessly deposit it from your phone.

Around 73% of people on earth use some form of online banking at least once a month, and that figure is only growing. People have never had such convenient account access, especially compared to how restrictive banking hours were. But that convenience comes with trade-offs, as all things do.

In 2021, account takeover fraud was up 90%. Meanwhile, new account fraud jumped a whopping 109%. As the ease of online banking has increased, so too has the ease of committing various banking-related cybercrimes.

If someone breaches your Facebook account, it can be an absolute headache to regain control. But, if a hacker breaches your bank account, it can be absolutely devastating. It can mean significant losses; losses that you may not ever recoup from your financial institution or related legal processes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the mistakes people make which leave their accounts at risk. Then, we’ll go over some important tips on how to keep your bank account better protected going forward, so this nightmare doesn’t become your waking reality.

Mistakes That Give Criminals to Access Your Bank Account

Not Enabling Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA, also called MFA) is a simple process that packs a big punch. When you enable this setting in any online account, it requires an extra step to gain access, either always, or only after certain time intervals, or for new device or location logins. That step usually consists of receiving a one-time passcode (OTP) via SMS or an authenticator app, and entering that at login.

Many people make the mistake of leaving this disabled. They either don’t know it’s there, or they think it’s mildly inconvenient, but leaving this setting off makes it much easier for a bad actor to breach your account.

Falling for a Phishing Scam

There are several types of phishing scams that target online banking. Cyber criminals send emails & SMS messages that look like they come from your bank, and they’ll even promise incredibly low rates on credit cards to rope you in.

Other scams can involve warning you of unauthorized account activity, in an attempt to instill panic and make you act on impulse. But when you click the link to log in, you’re actually on a fake page. It’ll look the same as always; it’s designed to mimic your normal bank website.

These are just a few ways that scammers can get your online banking login details. Once they have them, they’ll act immediately to lock you out, and then extract whatever they can while you scramble to regain control.

Using Weak / Easy-to-Guess Passwords

If your account password is easy to remember, that means it’s also probably easy to guess. Using weak passwords is a common mistake that enables many cyber criminals to gain access to your account.

Some password best practices include:

  • Making them at least 12 characters long
  • Don’t make them personal (e.g., don’t use your birthday, etc.)
  • Include at least one Upper-case letter
  • Include at least 1 number
  • Include at least one symbol!!!

Downloading Sketchy Mobile Apps

Banking Trojans are often hidden in malicious mobile apps. These apps can look like something as innocent as a day planner, or more suspicious like a side-loaded YouTube app that promises no ads. Regardless, once installed, banking Trojans scan any details they can find, prioritizing bank, wallet and crypto apps.

Logging Into Your Online Banking from Public Wi-Fi

One of the main ways people give away their online banking password is by logging into their account while on public Wi-Fi. Hackers hang out on public hot spots – or set them up themselves – and spy on the activity of others. You should never type in a password or other sensitive details when connected to public Wi-Fi.

Tips for Improving Online Banking Account Security

Turn On Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enabling two-factor authentication in your online banking account is one of the simplest and most effective methods you can use to protect your account. This is also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-step verification. According to Microsoft, it can block 99.9% of fraudulent account login attempts.

Set Up Banking Alerts for Key Actions

Time is of the essence when an intruder breaches your account. The faster you can notify your bank of the breach, the better. That means YOU have to be notified as soon as possible, as banks don’t frequently try to identify breaches on their end.

Set up banking alerts through your online banking, so that key actions will send push notifications to your devices. These can include things like low-balance alerts, transfers of funds over $XXX, and any login alerts.

Install an Antivirus & DNS Filtering On Both Your PCs & Mobile Devices

It’s important to have reliable antivirus software on your PC and mobile device. Many people don’t think about protecting their phones in this way, and yet they shop online and bank via mobile devices.

It’s also good to use a DNS filter. This is a filter that protects you from going to dangerous phishing sites by blocking them ahead of time automatically.

Take Phishing Training Classes

Do you know how to identify phishing? Do your employees? Are you all brushed up on even the newest of scams? You can make yourself, and via your employees, your business less vulnerable by taking some phishing awareness classes. Training your employees is the most effective firewall your business can get. Training on how to spot phishing is extremely cost-effective, and prevents not only banking breaches, but also other malicious attacks such as ransomware. We have pre-existing solutions for getting everyone on the same page, so give us a call if you want to prevent this from happening.

Knowing how to spot phishing via text, email, and phone can help you and your business avoid becoming a scam victim.

Get Help Protecting Your Family from Scams

There are some key digital solutions we can put in place to keep your firm and family safer from online threats. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about online security!

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