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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Online Financial Accounts

Technology makes it easier than ever to check your account balances and initiate transactions on the run. You can transfer money into savings, check stock quotes, and even send a text message for your account balance, all from the comfort of your neighborhood coffee shop.

Hackers, of course, are exploiting these services and are actively trying to gain access to your online financial accounts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your online financial accounts from unauthorized access.

  • Terminate each online session
    It is important to terminate each online session. Usually this can be done by clicking the logout link on the website you use to access your account information.
  • Think twice about “remember me” options
    Using this feature may allow others who use your computer to access your online financial accounts. Never allow the browser to remember user names and passwords when using a public, shared computer.
  • Create hard to guess passwords
    Use numbers, letters, and special characters if possible. Change frequently.
  • Avoid using computers other than your own to access your accounts
    Viruses and other harmful software may reside even on a friend’s computer.
  • Exert caution when using wireless hotspotsThese hotspots are convenient, but they may not be secure. Ask the owner of the hotspot what security measures are in place.
  • Smart phone usersSmart phone users who use their phone to check their computer should exert caution as well. Mobile users are as susceptible to the same phishing scams and fraudulent websites that computer users are.
  • Review your account statements frequentlyLook for suspicious charges.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year
    You can do this for free at Look for unauthorized transactions.
  • If you suspect your password has been stolenNotify the company where you have the account immediately.
For more information and tips on how you can protect your identity and financial information, visit .