How to keep your money safe when banking online

Years ago, before the internet came along and introduced the world to cat gifs, memes and social networking, people had to line up at a bank to manage their money.

Fortunately, that's no longer the case. Today we can simply go online to transfer funds, make payments and check balances with a few clicks of the mouse!

But the next time you fire up your web browser to top up your credit card before a night on the town, consider these insights:

  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported a 65 per cent increase in online shopping and auction scams in 2013.
  • Online shopping is growing (to 9.8 per cent of total retail sales by the end of 2017, up from 7 per cent at the end of 2013, according to a Frost & Sullivan online shopping survey).

Therefore it seems opportunities for cyber criminals already exist, and are likely to increase. They'll be looking for smarter, savvier ways steal your personal information and hard earned money.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your money safe and secure when banking online. 

Know your networks

Most modern banking websites have plenty of security software and special features built in to help keep your data safe, but those won't do you any good if you're accessing the site through a public network or someone else's computer.

You should never provide personal information or financial details when using a network that you're not familiar with – such as the WiFi provided by the local coffee shop – as you never know who may be monitoring your activity. 

Furthermore, avoid accessing your online banking account using public computers such as those at internet cafes. These could potentially be fitted with keyloggers or other software designed to hijack your details. 

And if you do find yourself in a situation where you're required to use public networks or equipment, make sure you log out afterwards and report any suspicious activity to your bank as soon as possible. 

Be wary of phishermen

Before you ask, no, we didn't make a silly spelling mistake in that subheading. Phishing is a cybercrime technique that often involves sending a fake email disguised as an official communication, with the intention of getting people to input their personal information or click on a dodgy link. 

Phishing scams are a serious problem, and you need to be aware of the telltale signs that give away a phishing email. 

Remember that your bank or credit card provider should never email you asking for your personal details. Always check the email address that sent you the email, and don't open it if it looks suspicious.

If you're ever unsure, don't hesitate to get in touch with your bank or financial institution to check if it was legitimate. 

Do you have any other tips for safe online banking?