Many people do the bulk of their financial account management online. Unfortunately, this means the risk of identity theft and hacking is higher than ever. That’s why it’s so important to follow best security practices and ensure your information is protected.
Below, 15 Forbes Finance Council members share important precautions you should take to keep your sensitive financial information secure.
1. Check The URL
Payment security is crucial for businesses and their customers. To keep your financial information secure, always use a virtual private network when using public Wi-Fi, and never input your credit card or banking information via unsecured websites. Before inputting your sensitive information, ensure that the website’s URL starts with “https,” which indicates that all data communications are encrypted. - Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
2. Make Sure The Website Is Legitimate
Never submit online banking, credit or other sensitive financial information online without first investigating the legitimacy of the platform or website. Be sure to do a deep dive into the digital footprint, including customer reviews, time in business, social media and more. One major slip-up should be enough to direct you elsewhere. - Joe Camberato, National Business Capital & Services
3. Don’t Save Passwords To Your Web Browser
I know it is incredibly convenient, but don’t have your Web browser save your passwords. If you want the convenience of a saved password, then use password-saving technology that requires you to enter one master password. If you have the browser save your password, then anyone can access your bank account if you leave your computer unattended. - Aaron Spool, Eventus Advisory Group, LLC
4. Use Secure Browsing Options
Many password managers also have secure browsing window options when they detect certain sites. Also, make sure you are not being redirected to a fake website login from, for example, a spam email. Keep your passwords secure within a storage system, and don’t use the same one across all platforms. - Jackie Meyer, Meyer Tax, The Concierge CPA Coach
5. Be Prepared For The Worst
While password managers, encrypted Web pages, two-factor authentication and other methods can be used to prevent a security breach, it’s also a good idea to have a plan for when things go awry. Ensure that your account backup information remains accurate, know the process for freezing and reclaiming an account and document your bank’s fraud resolution in case you need to take legal action. - Ryan Rosett, Credibly
6. Use Multifactor Authentication
Many banks now offer free multifactor authentication as an additional security layer. MFA augments simple username and password security with another way of confirming who the user is by using something they are (e.g., face or fingerprint ID), something they know (e.g., a PIN or one-time text code), or something they have (e.g., a push notification to your smartphone). If it’s offered, use it! - Tim Steinkopf, Centrify Corporation
7. Set Alerts
Most mechanisms to keep you safe can be a burden, from reduced ATM and online wire limits to that 24-digit, super-secure password. For the average consumer, the 80/20 is to set up alerts for large transactions and log-ins. That way if someone logs in or a large amount of money is withdrawn, you receive a text. Since banking is fairly slow, you will be able to call and freeze the transaction. - Felix Hartmann, Hartmann Capital
8. Only Give Out Financial Information To Trusted Sources
The first line of defense starts with only giving your financial information to trusted sources and using secure payment methods, such as those that require two-factor authentication. Preventing fraud requires constant vigilance that can be alleviated with precautionary measures, such as setting notifications for credit and debit card transactions and reporting suspicious activity immediately. - Eric Christensen, Digital River
9. Use VPNs And Trusted Wi-Fi Networks
Create strong passwords and change them frequently. Only access your accounts through a VPN or Wi-Fi networks that you trust, log out when you are done, and always, always use two-factor authentication! If you spot any anomalies, contact your account provider immediately. - Will McDonough, Corestone Capital
10. Secure Your Computer
It is best to keep your computer up-to-date—utilizing security software is perhaps the best precaution. You should ensure you are always running antivirus software and have firewalls turned on, and try to update your operating systems frequently to avoid any dated security loopholes. Security will ultimately protect you from any form of malware that can access your data. - Geanette Rodriguez-Ojeda, Prestige Finance LLC
11. Create Unique Passwords And Change Them Regularly
It may be tempting to have a single password for all of your accounts, but this is a disaster if anything is hacked. I suggest financial accounts have passwords completely different from any other personal login. Be sure to change them regularly—say every quarter when you sit down to review your finances. - Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
12. Use ‘Clean’ Computer Practices
Make sure to install and update your antivirus software. Make sure your firewall is turned on. Keep your operating software up-to-date. Be careful what you download, as it may come with malicious code. Clear your computer and device cache and browsing history so that hackers cannot use the information. Turn off your computer and mobile device when you are not using them. - Frans Wiwanto, Flywire
13. Use A Password Manager
Having a password consolidator such as LastPass is critical for your online financial accounts. This way you are not only able to keep everything organized but also have it in a secure setting so that others don’t have visibility unless you have authorized it. - Meredith Moore, Artisan Financial Strategies LLC
14. Limit Bank Account Access
Limit access to your bank accounts. Rather than allowing organizations to withdraw money, use your bank’s bill-pay solutions to stay safe. Don’t pay all your bills automatically—take time each month to review statements and click the “Pay” button yourself. “A wise man knows the condition of his barns”—check your primary bank accounts at least three times a week. - Joshua Sherrard, Strategic Navigators Inc.
15. Use Common Sense
I cannot stress enough the importance of not sharing your passwords, making sure they are fairly complicated and changing them frequently. Doing this, working with trustworthy financial institutions and logging into your platforms several times a week will help keep your account secure and allow you to take action quickly. - Sonya Thadhani Mughal, Bailard, Inc.
The post "15 Finance Pros Explain How To Keep Your Online Transactions Secure" was first posted on Forbes.com