How Safe is Online Banking?
Over the last 10 years, online banking has become pretty much a standard part of people’s lives. However, older individuals, who aren’t as familiar with the internet, may not understand the risks associated with online banking and how to protect their privacy.
When helping seniors learn about online banking, there are some basic things you should be careful to teach them. In many cases, these are things you likely take for granted, but seniors may not be aware of them. Plus a lot of things nowadays are done online and they may not be too familiar with technology.
Make sure you take the time and really show them in simple steps how to go about this. Find out how they will absorb the information best. If they do better visually, show them a video. If they don’t want to deal with technology quite yet, offer them some books. If you can’t find a way to help them, find a class to enroll them in that will teach them.
Banking and knowing how to work online is going to be vital for them to know!
Online ID and Password Information
Some seniors have never used a system that requires an online ID and password for site verification other than e-mail. Make sure to teach any senior you’re working with the basics of setting up a safe and secure online ID and password.
- Don’t use any part of your social security number for your online ID or password.
- Make sure your user ID is easily recognizable to you. Using part of your name is fine for your user ID if you have a secure password.
- Always use at least eight characters in your password. Ideally, a password should contain both letters and numbers, and should not contain easy to guess information like your social security number, birth date, or driver’s license or identification card number. Names of pets and children should also be avoided.
- Do not store your online banking password on your computer.
Protect Your Home Computer
The idea of people hacking into your online bank account might seem far-fetched, but it can happen. When it does, your accounts are easily emptied in a hurry, causing a huge problem for you that could take months to resolve.
For that reason, it’s important that you take at least basic steps to protect your home computer if you’re going to use online banking.
- Make sure your computer has an up-to-date antivirus program. Many computers come with antivirus protection, but in some cases, it expires after a set period – often six months or one year. If you don’t have up-to-date antivirus software, buy and install it before using online banking.
- Keep your firewalls turned on. Firewalls help protect you from people recording your keystrokes and the sites you visit, which could give them access to your personal information and online banking information.
Only Use Online Banking In Secure Locations
Most seniors won’t access their online banking information any other place than their home, but with the rise of smartphones, many seniors are able to check and use online banking sites on the go.
However, using open networks like you would find in a coffee shop, library, or bookstore can be problematic for online banking customers, and people looking to do you harm or access your bank account are more likely to get your information in public places than in your home.
You should also avoid storing sensitive information on your mobile device, as it’s generally more susceptible to being stolen. Adding a ‘screen lock’ to your mobile device can help protect sensitive information, but it isn’t a failsafe option.
The world of online banking can add a lot of convenience to a senior’s life, but it does come with considerable risks. Identity theft can be a major problem for seniors, and they are common targets. However, as long seniors use the internet and online banking safely with the tips above, the risks are minimized.
Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. As easy as online banking can make your life, she knows how important it is to make sure everything is secure and protected. She often contributes to the Presidio Home Care blog as a health writer as well as other health sites.