You don't have to build Fort Knox to make sure your accounts and money are protected; all it takes is a little know-how. Read on for information on how to protect your checking account, savings account, and for a few more tips, after reading this check out how to keep your money safe too.
What's the easiest way to protect your bank accounts? It all starts with a secure password. This might sound like old news, but it still holds true. Easy passwords to remember are also easy to guess, and if you think they'll stop at your bank accounts, think again. If you also like to re-use passwords (we've done it too!) the bad guys will have access to any other account you've "protected" with the same password which could make you an easy target for identity theft (WaFd Bank offers identity theft protection, ask around and compare to see what's right for you). Similarly, make sure all the devices you use to log in to your accounts require a password or code to unlock.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi and Public Computers
Sure, the coffee shop free Wi-Fi is great, but definitely not great for logging in to your bank accounts. Public Wi-Fi is not secure, so make sure you're not doing anything important while you're using it. When you connect to their internet, the information that is sent through the sites or apps you're using can be visible to others and it is possible hackers will put that information to good use for themselves. Read more about public Wi-Fi safety on the Federal Trade Commission's website. The same rules apply to shared computers, such as at the library. Don't use it to access private information, and double check to make sure you've logged out of any sites you've visited. For overall online safety, read our article on how to protect yourself online.
Make Sure Your Bank Has Your Current Contact Information on File
Always make sure that you have your phone number and current email address connected to your accounts. If bad actors do get into your account and you don't have it set up, there is potential for your accounts to be taken over. The bank can shut down your online banking access and freeze your accounts, but until you can get the mess sorted out, you won't have access to your money. This can make it difficult to pay your bills on time and lead to a huge headache in more ways than one. If they can't get ahold of you, they can't verify any activity is fraudulent or not until they're able to talk with you.
The most important thing to do to keep your accounts secure is to question everything. If you get a seemingly random email, text, or phone call from your bank asking you to confirm your username and password, don't do anything! Stop and think. If you're being pressured to act now, that is a huge red flag. If the matter is urgent, it can and will wait for you to make it to the bank or to get ahold of someone by calling the phone number listed on your bank's website. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
Here to Help with Your Banking and Your Privacy
WaFd Bank is here for you! With secure checking accounts, as well as secure savings accounts, we're fanatical about security, offering services such as voice-activated banking, which remembers your voice print to make sure no one can call in pretending to be you. Read more on how WaFd protects your privacy, and if you want to open an account or just have some questions, let us know! Give us a call at 1-800-324-9375, or visit your local branch.