[caption id="attachment_338" align="alignleft" width="283"] Avoid Accessing Bank Accounts on Public Networks[/caption]
A few days ago I discovered that my credit card number was stolen and had to go through some steps to feel safe again. Having gain this experience, i decided to write a few cautionary words that may help you avoid this nightmare.
In those private moments when you are accessing your bank debit card or credit card account you don't think that there is someone - a hacker looking at your information at the same time. Your bank, of course, offers secure online banking, so there seem to be no need for worry. Wrong! You should worry. Hackers are using trojans and other softwares to secretly steal data from your computer or from online forms that you regularly fill out.
In 2009 American were robbed of about $560 million by internet vigilantes according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. That is more than 100 percent increase from 2008. In fact, in 2009, there were more online robberies than physical banks robberies. The most frequently used techniques that hackers used was trojans.
These malicious scripts are specially tailored to steal user names, passwords, social security numbers and other vital data associated with your bank account and other pertinent online transactions like mortgage payments, bill paying and medical records.
Does Your Bank Has A Safe Online Banking System?
The more questions you have to answer or the more forms you have to fill is the safer your online banking is likely to be. If you bank's online portal only ask for a user name and password to enter, it is not as secure to stand against sophisticated trojans out there.
Regions Bank online banking, for example, only ask for a user name and password and its requirement for what constitute a password is not as stringent: 8 character password with letters and numbers combination. It should be a 8 letter password with letter, number and character combination with at list one letter in caps. If you are doing online banking you should check your computer for virus on a regular basis.
There are trojans such as ZEUS what will create a fictitious forms, asking for additional information such as social security numbers, before allowing you to enter you banking account.
Who bears the liability
The moment you are notified of any irregularity on your bank account act quickly to remedy the situation. In general, if you notify you bank in a timely manner of the violation to your account the bank is liable.
However, if you have a business account or a line of credit account the bank in most cases may not be liable. In the final analysis, the conclusion will be based on whether you acted with safety and report the incident in a timely manner.
How to Protect Your Account and Your Identity Online
Hacking is not the online way your information can be stolen. There is a whole democracy of information on the internet and bits of information about yourself can be found everywhere, from mortgage information from your county's court filings to the footprints we leave on social media sites. Here are some things you can do:
1) Avoid posting personal information about yourself online
2) Change your passwords every 90 days or every time you log into your account, which ever works for you
3) Purchase anti-virus and firewall for your computer. Cable companies like Comcast and Knology offer free anti-virus to their customers, so if you subscribe to a cable company services, follow up for free virus protection
4) In some cases anti-virus is not enough, you will have to add a trojan remover to you computer as well. Exterminate-it.com is a good source .
5) Do not download free programs that you can't vouched for. Many free programs have spywares attached that can rip out many personal information on your computer
6) Avoid using public networks or wifi at coffee shops as they are sometimes easy to penetrate.
7) Review your statement meticulously and report any unusually item to your bank or credit card company.
8) Create strong passwords made up of at least one capital letter, with a combination of numbers and symbols or characters
9) Never use the same password on more than one account
10) Ask your bank or credit card company if they have an alert system that sends an alert every time an unusual purchase is registered. I am very grateful my credit card company had one of those. They alerted me quickly and closed that particular credit card
11) Sign up for credit alert so that if any thing suspicious or out of the ordinary is placed on your credit report you will receive an immediate alert informing you of changes in your credit score
12) If you find information about you that is too personal or incorrect ask the webmaster to go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and remove the page with your information
13)Visit spokeo.com and search for you name. If you name and other private information shows up, click on the privacy link at the bottom of the page and request a removal
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