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5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Online Accounts

The use of mobile banking continues to rise. According to Pew research, 53% of smartphone owners with a bank account use mobile banking. Banking online makes your life a lot easier—monitoring your balances to avoid fees, receiving alerts when transactions are made on your account, and depositing checks remotely—but it also can put you at risk. Hackers who target online accounts have elevated their game to attack unsuspecting users, like you. How can you protect your account?

Here are five recommendations to help protect your account:

Don’t give out your account information in email or text.

Never, ever share personal information (social security, account or PIN numbers) or give your online banking login or password to anybody, even other lenders claiming they need it to deposit funds; they do not. They need a routing number and account number, not your online account information, ever. Oklahoma Central will never ask for your online account information (login and password) in an email or text message.

Use a banking-only laptop as your transactional terminal.

Take one of your old laptops to your local computer repair store, have its contents erased and an anti-virus program (Avast, Bitdefender, Norton, McAfee are good ones) installed. Don’t use it for email or online browsing and shopping. The only thing you’ll use it for is purchasing on secure sites and checking your online banking account. This will greatly diminish any chance you have of picking up a virus that will affect your online banking activities.

Always scrutinize the message.

Threats such as phishing, vishing and smishing attempt to fraudulently obtain your sensitive data using an email, telephone or mobile device. Emails, phone calls and texts look like they are from your credit union or bank, or other reputable company, and provide a link to verify or change your account in some way.

Do not click on an emailed link until you’ve confirmed it’s safe. And keep an eye out for new features in your bank’s online system. Does the logo look askew? Are you being asked for irrelevant information, like your driver’s license? These could be signs that you aren’t interacting with your bank, but more likely a hacker is manipulating your browser.

Keep your passwords safe.

Do not share your passwords or leave them in an unsecured area. Consider using a different password for every site you visit or change your passwords every three months. If you can’t remember all your passwords, try a password manager like DashlaneTrue Key or LastPass.

Set up two-step logins.

Two-step authentication asks you to sign in with your password, then adds a second sign-in—a numeric code sent by text, email or phone. Think of it as a double-duty password!

Online banking comes with its own set of risks, but those risks usually have less to do with the technology than with the human beings using it. Take steps to protect your accounts so you can enjoy all the conveniences of banking online while also staying safe.

For more tips on how to keep your information secure, read 6 Tips for Safer Online Banking.

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