In this modern age, it's hard to get by without making at least some financial transactions online. Most people opt to receive online statements for their accounts, pay bills electronically and do a large portion of their shopping online as well. It's very convenient to manage finances online, but it can also be dangerous. Consider focusing on the following specifics with regard to your online financial transactions.
The first step when dealing with finances online is to ensure you're operating on a secure connection. In general, the best way to do this is to go online through a password-protected network not available to the public. If you conduct any banking or financial transactions on a public unsecured network, you need to check whether the site is secure with encryption on each page. Look for a web address that starts with "https://" to know whether a connection is secure. And of course, you should also have virus protection software in use and updated to ensure you don't have a malware or spyware program installed on your computer that sends your keystrokes to a third party.
Banking online is incredibly convenient, but it’s imperative to protect your accounts. First, choose a secure choose a secure password. This is one that includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and ideally a special symbol if the site allows it. Don't store your password on your computer, and if you need a reminder, keep it in a locked filing cabinet or safe at home. Second, always navigate to your bank's website by typing the address in your browser. If you follow links, you may be directed to an impostor site instead. Third, log out every time you're done banking, rather than just closing the window.
Receiving your paycheck through direct deposit is convenient, and there’s the added perk of getting your money sooner. However, it's important that your payroll provider use security procedures with your data. You have to give your routing and bank account numbers, and you don't want these in just anyone's hands. Ask your employer what company it uses for direct deposit and how that company encrypts, stores and protects your personal information.
(Picture Credit Online Guild)
Shopping on Websites
Most websites selling products have an online checkout process you can use to buy the products you want, but not all of these are secure. If a website looks questionable, use common sense and don't give out your credit card information or bank account number. Never send this information via email, and always look for the security seal on the checkout page, in addition to the https:// prefix so you know your information is being encrypted.
Caution is the name of the game when it comes to online financial transactions. As a final tip, never provide your financial information in response to an email or call from a bank or company. Instead, call the company yourself so you can be sure you're responding to a legitimate request. Sophisticated hackers and thieves set up many types of scams to get your financial information and steal your money, and it's your job to be vigilant so you can avoid these traps.