How to Protect Your Identity When Shopping And Banking Online
September 4, 2018

How to Protect Your Identity When Shopping And Banking Online

HomeTown Bank Blog

We all love the ability to shop and bank online with ease, but overcoming identity theft is not so easy. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re protecting your information when doing transactions online. If the wrong people get ahold of that information, it will take a lot of work to recover any lost money and credit. Here are a five ways that you can protect yourself when shopping and banking online!

1. Shop And Bank On A Secure Network

The first line of defense is making sure the internet you’re using is safe and secure. Password protect your home internet and if you’re choosing to shop or bank online in public, make sure you’re accessing internet that is also secure and password protected. If in doubt, wait until you get home!

Public computers are convenient, but be cognizant that any information that you are entering could be stored in the computer. Information like login data and credit card information could be saved in the browser, so if you do choose to use a public computer, make sure you clear the history before the next person has access.

If you’re on your own device on public Wi-Fi, you could still be vulnerable. Again, make sure the network is secure by only accessing password protected Wi-Fi. You can also update the settings on your device to make sure you’re not automatically joining any unknown networks where hackers could be lurking

If you have to shop or bank online while away from home, consider using a virtual private network, or VPN, service to protect your account information.

2. Install And Update Antivirus Software

While many computer manufacturers and web browsers have taken steps to help technology users protect themselves from viruses, downloading and keeping an up to date version of an antivirus software is still important. Staying on top of this line of defense could mean the difference between getting your information caught in a phishing virus scam or being protected.

3. Use Strong Account Passwords

Strong passwords use mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols – often in a combination that cannot be guessed easily. Try to avoid using anything contextual to your life that hackers could guess. Security experts recommend that you update your password frequently for extra measure and to use a different password for every account. If you have trouble keeping track of all of your passwords, there are services like LastPass and 1Password that can securely store all of your passwords for you to access from anywhere (but hopefully from a secure internet!)

4. Mobile Security Is Important Too

While we often just think about needing to protect ourselves on our computers, it’s important to be smart when banking or shopping from your phone or tablet, too. Help protect the access to your accounts by adding a password lock to your device. You can also utilize the latest technologies like fingerprint or face recognition for an extra layer of protection.

If you install a “find your phone” application, you can also be protected and find your misplaced or stolen phone by geolocation. There are a lot of different applications that can help you with your mobile security, all you have to do is look for them!

5. Only Trust An HTTPS Website

Have you ever wondered what the difference between “http” and “https” is? That “s” stands for “security”! Before using a website to share sensitive account or personal information, check to see if your browser is showing an “https” at the beginning of the URL. This means the information that gets passed from your computer to the website’s server is encrypted and therefore protected from hackers.

If you have concerns about the security of your banking information online, we’re hear to ease your mind! HomeTown Bank works hard to provide safe, secure technologies that keep your important information protected. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call!