6 Cyber-Security Tips to Help Keep Your Customers’ Online Banking Transactions Safe

It’s hard to beat the convenience of banking online. Banking apps and online tools make it easy for customers to log in from the comfort of their homes or when they’re on the go. From there, they can check account information, make transfers, and even deposit checks.

However, in today’s online world, it’s becoming increasingly important to take security measures when it comes to protecting your customers’ accounts from cyber-security threats.

Use these six online banking security tips to help your customers keep their financial information safe when they bank online.

  1. Never Give Out Personal Information

One of the easiest ways a hacker or scammer can gain access to customer accounts is by receiving personal information. A good rule of thumb? Tell customers to keep their personal information to themselves.

Encourage customers to contact your customer service center right away if someone asks for their login information on your company’s behalf. Scammers may try to request personal information via email, phone call, or text. Customers should never give login information, or their secure access code, no matter what the situation is.

  1. Use Strong Login Credentials

Most people have several online accounts at different financial institutions. Perhaps they have an account for their mortgage, separate checking and savings accounts, and an account for insurance policies. The best way for your customers to protect multiple accounts is to use a unique username and password for each account. That way, if one account login is compromised, they don’t have to worry about their other accounts being accessed using the same login.

You can help customers keep their account safe by requiring strong passwords. Encourage them to use a completely unique password that incorporates letters, numbers, symbols, and a mix of uppercase and lowercase.

You can further increase the security of customer accounts by offering two-factor authentication. Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is the process of requiring an added layer of security to access an account. It works by asking an additional question or requiring a secure access code after a correct username and password have been entered. You can even require customers to use two-factor authentication when signing in for the first time on a new device.

For example, at American Savings Bank we use a secure access code as part of our online banking system. After logging into the online banking platform from a new device, users are prompted to enter a secure access code. They can choose to have the code texted to them or delivered via phone call. The code is active for 30 minutes before it expires.

  1. Be Wary of Unexpected Emails

Have you ever received an email from someone you know, but the email didn’t seem quite right? Perhaps you got an email from your boss that asked for passwords to your work computer or an email from the government asking for your Social Security number. These were more than likely phishing scams.

A phishing scam tries to trick people by sending an email from a person or business that the recipient trusts to gain access to personal information. The body of the email will usually ask the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment. It may lead to a fake website that mimics a real site, and ask for login information.

The best way to help customers avoid phishing scams is to provide education on recognizing these scams. Consider sending customers a letter or setting up a webpage with information to help them recognize scams, such as:

  • Check the email address of any unexpected emails. Many scams come from an email address that’s clearly not part of a trusted organization. Most won’t use the organization’s URL.
  • Look for obvious spelling, grammar, or formatting errors.
  • See if the email is addressed directly to the customer. Many scams use a generic greeting instead of address the user by name.
  • If they suspect a scam, have customers call the organization through a trusted method of contact, such as a customer service phone number.
  1. Don’t Download If You Don’t Know

Other phishing scams may encourage customers to download attachments in emails. A common tactic is to let customers know an invoice or product order is attached. When they download the attachment, a virus or malware is released onto their computer. If your customers receive an email asking them to download an unexpected file, have them contact your business through a separate means of communication to verify.

Downloading from unknown sources is also risky for your employees using company computers. You can help keep customer and business data safe by training your employees on safe web habits. For example, you could restrict access to certain websites that are known to have phishing scams leading to issues with cyber-security. When it is time to update company software, have your IT department take care of downloading and implementing any changes instead of relying on employees.

  1. Make it Easy to Monitor Accounts

One of the best ways to ensure online banking security is to encourage customers to keep a close eye on their accounts. Regularly logging in and checking accounts helps customers notice any subtle changes that may be due to errors or fraud. Many fraudsters make small changes in accounts over time, such as withdrawals of small amounts, rather than making a sudden change that could tip off authorities.

Make it easy for your customers to regularly look at their accounts so they’ll be able to notice even slight changes in balances or payment information. Offering an alert service with online banking is a great way to let customers receive immediate notifications of transfers, transactions, or low balances. Setting up transaction alerts could help customers catch fraudulent account activity early on.

  1. Offer Ways to Report Fraud Right Away

The first thing customers should do if they notice fraudulent activity is to notify you. Set up a dedicated customer service line for reporting fraudulent activity so your customers have an easy way to report fraud. By learning of fraud right away, you have a better chance of shutting down the fraudster before other customers are affected.

Online Banking Security Through Awareness

Being aware of the tricks used by scammers, as well as requiring strong passwords, can help you keep your customers’ account safe from identity theft. A little bit of precaution goes a long way in keeping customer information safe online.

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Brandon Tanaka

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