How to access private banking safely

You must have heard some horror story or the other of a famous figure or celebrity’s bank account being hacked. So, how do you protect your private banking account, with its high entry/minimum financial requirements, and access it safely? We’ve put together a few tips to help you ensure better security while accessing your private banking account:

Understand your bank’s security measures – Your private bank will already have put in place a slew of security measures to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your banking experiences. Some of them work behind the scenes while others would require your active participation.

private banking
Understand and comply with the various safety measures put in place by your private bank. The security section on your private bank’s websie would be a good place to start with.

Here are some security measures grouped situation-wise:

Safe online usage – The below measures will help you perform e-commerce transactions safely using your debit or credit card:

▪ Sign up for Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode for additional protection
▪ Shop only at trusted merchants
▪ Try and use prepaid cards with a limited pre-loaded value

Safe retail usage – Follow these when you use your debit or credit card at retail outlets:

▪ Check the sales slip to see if your name and card details are in order, sign it and retain your copy
▪ Make sure your card (not someone else’s) is returned to you promptly after you’ve paid for a purchase
▪ Sign up for SMS / email credit card transactional alerts

Safe ATM usage – An ATM can be a potential “theft-trap”. Avoid falling into one through the following:

▪ Make sure that there are no suspicious devices attached to the ATM
▪ Check that there is no one observing when you enter your PIN
▪ Use ATMs at well-lit and well frequented spots
▪ Retain your card after use

Safe phone banking – Conduct phone banking transactions safely by:

▪ Call phone banking only on the numbers given
▪ Be extra cautious while attending calls purportedly from the bank
▪ Divulge only the minimum security information required

Secure your devices – Desk-top computers or laptops are the not the only means of accessing your account online. Your high-end mobile or tablet would do just as well! Ensure device security through:

▪ By being aware of and in control of how your computer / browser / mobile app stores, retains and uses information
▪ Ensure your computer / mobile are protected by strong passwords and anti-virus / anti-malware software
▪ Be cautious while responding to genuine looking links / emails / SMS
▪ Download banking apps only from the location prescribed by your bank
▪ Avoid or be extra cautious while accessing your account from a public/shared computer or through a public wireless network

Prevent identity theft –  Identity thieves steal your identity and impersonate you to gain access to your account. Here are some ways in which you can protect your identity:

▪ Do not disclose PINs or passwords and change them regularly
▪ Do not share your personal / account information with anyone unless for legitimate purposes and to a legitimate person
▪ Safely and effectively dispose of any documents containing your personal / account information
▪ Keep yourself updated about devices and techniques used by fraudsters and stay alert

Monitoring – Monitor your account regularly and do a proper check of your account statements when you receive them.