What tips do you have for safe online banking and to pay bills online?
While online banking and bill payment services offer convenience and save us time, there are precautions consumers should take.
Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, said recently in her consumer suggestions that most transactions "are completed quickly and without a glitch. However, just as with other transactions, in a small percentage of cases something goes wrong. That's why you need to take precautions against theft and errors."
Sink suggests the following when banking and paying bills online:
• Frequently check your deposit accounts and lines of credit to spot and report errors or fraudulent transactions, just as you should with traditional banking.
• Use a mix of security tools and procedures. At the top of the list of security tools to use — and keep updated — are anti-virus software to detect and block spyware and other malicious attacks, and a "firewall" to stop hackers from accessing your computer.
• Don't log into your bank account while using public computers, such as at a library, or free wireless connections at coffee shops and similar places. Criminals often try to intercept Internet traffic, including passwords, from these locations.
• Consider using a separate computer solely for online banking or shopping. A growing number of people are purchasing basic PCs and using them only for banking online and not Web browsing, e-mailing, social networking, playing games or other activities that increase the chances of downloading malicious software.
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