In this age of the Internet, there has been a transformation in the way people bank. Most transactions can be conducted online, and one can access cash fast from innumerable ATMs strewn all over cities and towns. What is more, with internal tie-ups, you can even use ATMs of banks other than your own. All of which makes banking very easy and user-friendly.
At the same time, it also makes you vulnerable to cheating by tricksters and identity thieves, who steal your money by accessing your information. Cyber crimes have become very common these days, and if you are not careful, you could lose your hard earned money to these unscrupulous people. Although most banks have data encryption security, it is still not 100 % hacker proof, in spite of the claims made by banks.
One of the first canons of safe banking is to exercise caution while using the ATM. For example, when withdrawing money, stand in such a way as to prevent a bystander from spying what you are keying in. The password being vital, you need to make sure not to disclose it to anyone, or write it on a piece of paper, or even store it on your computer. It is important to keep changing your password occasionally, and not use the same one for different accounts.
Avoid replying to mails that ask for your bank details. Cheats have a way of sending you mail posing as your bankers, and claiming to update your records by asking for your details. Be aware that no bank would do this, as they are cognizant of the security risks this would entail. In case you have concerns about a purported query from your bank, call up and make sure of the authenticity of the inquiry.
Banks keep sending you many details through the post, like statements and various other kinds of correspondence. Since they usually contain some part of your information available with the bank, you need to shred these papers thoroughly when you discard them. It is a common trick used by identity thieves to rummage through discarded rubbish in search of exactly such details.
Online banking transactions should be conducted in a secure place like your home or your office, avoiding public servers. Wherever you access your account, it is important to ensure that there is virus protection and firewall software installed. Moreover, beware of rogue software programs that are sent to your mailbox, which allows the sender access to the information available in your mailbox, and even read your keystrokes and get the entire details of your Internet usage. After you finish your work, always make sure to log out, especially if you use a public server. If you fail to do this, anyone using the terminal after you will be able to access your account information quite easily. Avoid making online purchases which require you to use a credit or debit card, for you can never be sure about the security features of the concerned website.
Banking has now become hi-tech, and offers the ease of conducting it from the comfort of your home or office, through online facilities. However, care needs to be exercised while banking online, in order to prevent cheating and fraud, and to make sure it is safe and secure.