Mobile Banking Security

May 1st, 2015 Ron Haines
mobile deposit

It’s faster than the race cars at the Iowa Speedway. It’s as quiet as an open meadow. And, it’s more dangerous than a beagle at a buffet.

No, it’s not an army of ninjas.

It’s the moment when someone steals your banking information.

If it happens to you, your emotions will likely range from anger to vulnerability. It can cost you your life savings, your credit rating and employment opportunities.

In 2012, over $20 billion was stolen from 12 million people in the United States by means of online fraud. Identity theft is a common maneuver for thieves to access important financial information and take money from their victim’s accounts. Even big box stores – who have tight security on their transactions – have challenges with their customers’ data being stolen electronically.

With the right precautions in place, mobile banking can be a safe, secure way for users to access the banking services of their financial institution.

What is mobile banking?

Mobile banking is a way for bank customers to complete financial transactions by using a mobile device – like a smartphone or tablet. It is typically an app that customers download and use for their transactions. Bank customers use mobile banking because it is a free, safe and efficient way to conduct their banking transactions.

What are the risks?

Thieves can steal your financial data and other important personal information. Anything that is stored online is at risk to be compromised. But, that damage can be prevented if users take appropriate steps to secure their important information.

What can you do?

Some people are uncertain about the security of mobile banking. However, just a few simple steps can keep your information safe and secure. Here are some recommended best practices to limit the chances of mobile banking fraud:

1. Protect your phone with a password. Passwords prevent unauthorized access to your phone. If thieves cannot get into your phone, they cannot see and retrieve your information.

2. Avoid unsecure or public Wi-Fi networks. Places like libraries, restaurants, coffee shops and hotels are hotspots for stealing electronic data. Be sure to turn off the Wi-Fi auto-connect feature from your phone, tablet, laptop and other devices so it doesn’t automatically connect with an open network. You should also disable your Bluetooth connectivity when it’s not in use.

3. Use your phone’s security features. Your device may already have security systems in place. Use them! If you don’t have security functions, you can install software that will look for any unwanted or suspicious activity, like McAfee Mobile Security or 360 Security. This will help keep your information safe.

4. Only download applications from trusted sources. Make sure you know where you are getting your applications and software from. It should be a reputable source and have legitimate user recommendations. Take the time to do your homework in reviewing the sources before downloading anything.

5. Use caution when charging your device in a public setting. Thieves have been known to switch the charging cables at your favorite establishments for cables that can transfer the information stored on your device. Pay attention to where you are and the charger you are using.

6. Always log off sites you use that contain secure information. Anytime you are on a website that you have to log in and out of, such as a banking site or websites like Amazon and eBay, be sure to log off every time. If you are still logged in, your information can be accessed if someone were to use the browser you were using on your device.

7. Avoid texting or emailing personal information. Texting or emailing your personal information is especially dangerous because you do not know the security proficiency of the person you are texting or emailing. Your information should be highly guarded. Before sharing your information, ask why the person or company needs your information, how they will protect it and if it’s possible to proceed without your personal information.

Mobile banking is a great tool to use for saving time and having fast access to your accounts. Do your best to protect all of your information. With the steps above, you can feel more confident in keeping data thieves away from your financial information.

Ron Haines

About the author

Ron Haines is Market President at MidWestOne Bank. He works in the retail department, specializing in checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, auto loans and home equity loans.

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