Do you have a bank account? Banks have been around for millennia, with the earliest forms of banking beginning around 2000B.C. as merchants offered loans of grain to traders traveling the world. In the present day, with only 7% of adult Americans choosing alternatives to even a simple checking or savings account, chances are good that most of our readers have ties to at least one bank – and, in many cases, probably more than one.
With the rise of modern banking, forms of currency aren’t the only thing to have changed in the last 4000 years. As technology influences more and more areas of our daily lives, banking has changed forms time and time again. Various studies suggest that anywhere from 55-70% of adults have completed at least one banking transaction from a smartphone or mobile device.
The challenge? Ensuring security for banking customers and their most sensitive personal information – their finances. That’s why, in today’s blog, we’re talking about some smart tips you can use to avoid trouble when banking on your smart device.
Don’t Follow The Trail
It might seem like a no-brainer that people would never willingly give a hacker access to their bank account, right? Wrong. Phishing – scams that use websites and links that appear to be legitimate (but really aren’t) in order to bait people into giving up their private information – is incredibly common and can result in big problems for the victims of these devious schemes.
So how do you avoid phishing scams? As a general rule, never follow links or open websites from sources you don’t trust. That doesn’t mean you can’t read Uncle Jim’s text messages (unless you need an excuse not to) – it means that when it comes to communication about your sensitive information, you should know that the police, a bank, the IRS, etc. are never going to contact you about taxes, financial details, account status, or any other important issues via email, text message, or even a phone call.
When it comes to mobile banking, this still holds true – so if you receive emails or text alerts that seem fishy, don’t reply or follow any links. Instead, contact your bank directly using the customer service number on your debit/credit card or in your mobile app.
Stay Off The Wifi
Public Wifi can be a real blessing when you’re trying to look up a new restaurant, do some work while you’re waiting for the bus, or show a silly video to a friend. But when it comes to mobile banking, you need to think of unsecured wireless networks as public enemy number one.
In general, public networks aren’t secured – often intentionally, to allow as many people as possible easy access – and by connecting to one, you may be compromising the security of your device. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use public wifi, because the convenience of free, publicly available internet isn’t all bad. But a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t do anything on a public network that you wouldn’t want projected on the big screen at the movie theater – including typing in your mobile banking password.
Keep Track Of The Goods
This last tip is two-fold – pay attention to your smartphone. The first part of this tip goes for what’s happening on-screen. Make sure that you are selective in everything that you download (for example, make sure that you’re downloading the official version of your bank’s mobile app) and that you are keeping a wary eye out for anything that seems suspicious.
And second, don’t forget that the world exists beyond your screen. Keeping your mobile device close at hand is convenient when you’re going out for a night on the town – but it also means that you could lose it anywhere along the way. If you’re going to a concert, a sporting event, or a crowded bar, you may want to consider leaving the phone locked up in the car (or even at home). That way you can enjoy the event in real time, and you don’t have to worry about someone making off with your mobile device and having convenient access to your life savings.