Keeping Your Checking Account Secured In The Digital Age
If you're like a lot of people today, you probably have multiple checking accounts and savings accounts. Whether you've been chasing deals or just opening new bank accounts as you move, it can quickly become a lot to keep track of. Below are five simple and actionable tips to protect your checking account from theft, fraud, and unauthorized access.
1. Choose a secure password
A strong password is the first line of defense for your checking account security. Ensure that your password is complex, unique, and not shared with anyone. Opt for longer passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid commonly used passwords, such as "123456" or "password" and consider using a password manager to store your passwords securely.
2. Monitor your account
Monthly reconciliations aren't just for accountants. If your account provides automated monitoring, turn it on. It's essential to keep an eye on your account activity to spot any suspicious transactions early. Check your account statements regularly and set up alerts for any unusual activity, such as large withdrawals or deposits that you didn't initiate. Report any errors or discrepancies to your bank immediately and consider freezing your account if you suspect fraudulent activity.
3. Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of protection to your checking account. This process requires you to enter a unique code or answer security questions to access your account, in addition to your usual login credentials. You can enable 2FA through your bank's website or mobile app; many will use your phone's built-in biometrics. Don't turn it off just because it's a hassle. It's a vital first line of defense.
4. Be cautious of phishing scams
Phishing scams are one of the most popular ways for fraudsters to obtain your checking account details. These scams come in the form of fake emails or websites that trick you into disclosing your personal information, such as your login credentials, social security number, and credit card details. Be cautious of any suspicious emails or links, and never share your personal information with anyone online or over the phone.
5. Use a secure network or VPN
When accessing your checking account online, it's crucial to use a secure network, such as your home Wi-Fi or a trusted network. If you're on the go, use a VPN. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your bank account, which could leave your account vulnerable to hackers. Also, ensure that your device has the most up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software to protect you from cyber threats.
Securing your checking account doesn't have to be a daunting task, whether you have one checking account or dozens. Use the tools at your disposal (such as automated account alerts) to make the process easier. An online bank doesn't inherently have to be a less secure bank.
Reach out to a financial institution to learn more about checking accounts.