Banking online has never been easier, and it’s a convenient way to check your balance, make payments, transfer money, and manage your finances. But just like with anything online, there are risks – from having your account hacked, your personal information stolen, or your hard-earned money taken straight from your account.
Banks work hard to protect their customers as much as possible, but each of us also has a role to play. The Customer Owned Banking Association shares five ways to ensure you’re protecting yourself and banking safely online.
1. Use a strong password
While a physical bank uses the most advanced locks and security systems, your best protection for online banking is to have a strong password. This isn’t the time to use your own name, a child’s name, your street name or anything else that could be easily determined by someone else. Also never use an identifiable number like your birthday, postcode or another significant number for your PIN. Instead, create a password that includes a good mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters. And make sure you also put a strong passcode or password on the devices your online bank account is connected to, such as your banking app on a smartphone or the laptop you use to access your account.
2. Add two-factor authentication
Want an added layer of protection for logging into your online bank account? Many banks offer two-factor authentication. This is the process where, after you enter your login details, your bank will send an SMS to your nominated mobile phone with a unique code, which you then enter to access your account. This gives you a second layer of security, and means that if someone else happens to get your login details, they won’t be able to login and access your account without the unique code.
3. Understand how your bank communicates with you
We all get so many emails and messages every day, but not all are genuine. It’s a fact of life that some people will try to take advantage of others, and some try to do it through fraudulent and scam bank emails. Some of these can look very convincing and seem like they’re legitimate and from your bank, which is why you need to be careful with any communications.
One of the best ways to arm yourself against being scammed is to understand how your bank communicates with you. Different banks have different processes, but they will most likely never ask you to click on a link or ask you for your password, whether that’s via email or over the phone. If you ever receive a communication from your bank that you’re uncertain about, the best course of action is to directly contact your bank and ask them about it.
4. Only use secure devices
Using public computers or even public wi-fi on your own devices can increase the risk of someone else accessing your bank information. So when accessing your online bank account, always use a secure device, such as your own computer or smartphone. And only do it when you are on a secure internet connection, whether that’s your own home wi-fi or that of a trusted family member or friend.
5. Make the most of your bank’s safety features
Your bank is there to keep your money safe, and many financial institutions offer additional safety features to ensure only you can access your account. Chat to your bank about what they offer to help secure your account. You may also be able to set up notifications that alert you about every transaction that happens on your account. That way you can ignore the transactions that you know about, but you’ll know straight away if an unauthorised transaction happens, so you can get in touch with your bank ASAP.
If you believe your QBANK account has been compromised, please contact our Member Services Team on 13 77 28 immediately.
For up-to-date information regarding scams in Australia please visit: www.scamwatch.gov.au