Safe online banking

The beauty of online accounts is that you can monitor them almost in real time. That means you can catch crooks long before a statement arrives in the mail.

In fact, a study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the average time to detect fraud was 18 days for people who monitor their accounts online. For paper users: 114 days.

  1. Don't use your account on an unknown computer. Unless you are sure a computer is secure, be wary of using a unknown computer. Computers can record pages viewed and keystrokes entered among other possible security violations. Granted, this will not be your experience on most computers, but be careful.

  2. Don't use your computer at work. Even if it's on your lunch hour and on your own time, employers can monitor computer usage and even typing (although most don't). While your company might not care how much money is in your accounts, those who are paid to monitor Internet and email use will also have access to this information. You can use your computer at work, just be aware of the risks.

  3. Shred or securely store your paper bank statements. One of the advantages of online banking is that your records are stored securely online. However, if your financial institution sends you monthly statements about your account or another account you have with them, be aware that these statements can include log-in information as well as account numbers that can be used to access your account. You should shred these documents when you are done with them or store them in a secure place.

  4. Understand security and online banking. You have taken a good first step by reviewing the information on this site and this list of security measures that you can take, but make sure you continue to be aware of the security measures your financial institution employs.