Online bank fraud is one of the world's fastest-growing area of crime. In the UK, it doubled from £60m in 2014 to £130m+ this year – and the losses to consumers have in some cases been of the life-changing order of £90,000 each. Here's how you stay safe.
Long gone are the days when taking a trip to the bank was necessary to access your finances, meaning that scammers have created crude new ways to access your money.
But, with the fast pace of such advancements, it can sometimes feel like security has taken a backseat.
Here's how you can be absolutely sure your cash is safe. Prevention is better than cure, after all.
1. Use a password manager to keep your details safe
DON'T USE THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING.
Yes, most of us have the memories of goldfish but scammers these days are sophisticated and can unravel your life in one fell swoop – even more so if you make it easy for them.
The same goes for using passwords which are easily guessed. It may be easy to remember, but using the title of your favourite book for your password makes it pretty easy to work out - especially if you’re accustomed to sharing that kind of information online where anyone could see it.
That’s why using a password manager is your best bet: it means you can use a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation to form a complicated password, but you don’t need to worry about remembering it.
Google Chrome and Safari will even generate passwords and remember them for you, making the process relatively easy and pain-free.
2. Use a separate account for online payments
With online scams getting more and more sophisticated, it’s harder than ever to trust that the website you’re shopping with online is really legitimate. Eliminate stress by using a separate account for all your online payments, so that if someone does get access to your bank account, they don’t have access to all of your money.
For those really not bothered (lazy girls, wassup hello) you could always use a digital wallet such as PayPal to give yourself that extra level of security.
3. Check your accounts regularly
One of the luxuries of online banking is being able to check your funds whenever you want to. Take a minute or two during your commute each day to go through your accounts and review your recent purchases, and investigate any transactions you don’t recognise straight away.
Doing this regularly will give you peace of mind, and will also allow you to keep track of how much you’re spending.
4. Use safe Wi-Fi networks
Public wi-fi networks may be great for our monthly data usage, but they’re not so great for our online security.
Ever logged into the wi-fi on public transport and quickly checked your bank balance? Your data may be at risk.
That’s because many public wi-fi networks are unencrypted and often not protected by a password, meaning it’s super easy for hackers to intercept your personal data and gain access to your account and log-in details. To keep yourself safe, only manage your money online via wi-fi networks you know and trust.
Main image by @kaliuchis on Instagram