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- Safe Online Banking Tips
As use of the Internet continues to expand, more banks and thrifts are using the Web to offer products and services to enhance communications with consumers.
The Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient new ways to shop for financial services and conduct banking business, any day, any time. However, safe banking online involves making good choices - decisions that will help you avoid costly surprises or scams.
Tips to Help you if you are thinking about or already using online banking systems:
*Confim that an online bank is legitimate and that your deposits are insured
*Keep you personal information private and secure
*Understand your rights as a consumer
*Learn where to go for more assistance from banking regulators
Confirm that an Online Bank is Legitimate and that Your Deposits are Insured;
Whether you are selecting a traditional bank or an online bank that has no physical offices, it is wise to make sure that it is legitimate and that your deposits are federally insured.
Key Information about the bank posted on its Web Site:
Most bank Web sites have an "About Us" section that describes the institution. You may find a brief history of the bank, the official name and address of the bank, and information about its insurance coverage from the FDIC.
Verify the bank's insurance status:
To verify a bank's insurance status, look for the familiar FDIC logo or the words "Member FDIC" or "FDIC Insured" on the web site. You can search for an institution by going to the FDIC's home page and selecting "Is My Bank Insured?". Enter the official name, city, and state of the bank, and click the "Find My Institution" button. A positive match will display the official name of the bank, the date it became insured, its insurance certificate number, the main office location, and its primary government regulator. If your bank does not appear on this list, contact the FDIC at 800-934-3342 or send an email via the FDIC's online Customer Assistance page.
Protect yourself from fraudulent Web sites:
Watch out for copycat Web sites that deliberately use a name or Web address very similar to, but not the same as, that of a real financial institution. The intent is to lure you into clicking onto their Web site and giving your personal information, such as your account number and password. Always check to see that you have typed the correct Web site address for your bank before conducting a transaction.
Keep your Transaction Secure:
The Internet is a public network. Therefore, it is important to learn how to safeguard your banking information, credit card numbers, Social Security Number and other personal data.
Contact your bank for information regarding their Web site security practices
Some security features are:
Encryption, which is a process of scrambling private information to prevent unauthorized access. To show that your transmission is encrypted, some browsers display a small icon on your screen that looks like a lock or key whenever you conduct secure transactions online. Avoid sending sensitive information, such as account numbers, through unsecured email.
Passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs) should be used when accessing an account online. Your password should be unique to you and you should change it regularly. Do not use birthdates or other numbers or word that may be easy for others to guess. Always carefully control who you give your password to. If you use a financial company that requires your passwords in order to gather your financial data, make sure you learn about the company's privacy and security practices.
General security over you personal computer such as virus protection and physical access controls should be used and updated regularly. Contact your hardware and software suppliers or Internet service provider to ensure you have the latest security updates.
Before you order a product or service online, make sure you are comfortable with the reputation of the company making the offer. Only then should you give out your credit card or debit card number. Never give these numbers unless you initiated the transaction.