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Is Online Banking Still Safe?

submitted on June 15, 2011 by pablos17 in "Member's Lounge"
Too many systems are getting hacked these days and it makes me worry even more than ever. I use online banking systems every day and shop online all the time.

I guess that as long as one is careful then the chance of becoming a victim is greatly decreased, but what about when the banking institution itself lacks in security protocols?

The answer, according to top security experts, is a qualified "yes." Using the Internet to bank, buy music, or shop is still as safe or safer than visiting brick-and-mortar locations, as long as consumers take precautions and know what to do if they notice any suspicious activity. In fact, the overall trend is a reassuring one: 2010 actually saw fewer records breached than the previous year due to new infrastructure in place, says Julie Conroy McNelley, senior fraud and risk analyst at research firm Aite Group. Today, she adds, "banks have some of the most sophisticated mechanisms in place."

As long as consumers take a few basic steps (explained below) to help protect their information, security experts agree that online banking remains safe. That's a good thing, since it's almost impossible for consumers to avoid sharing personal data online if they want to participate in 21st-century life, from Facebook to online sales to paying bills. Plus, as McNelley adds, many breaches involve databases of card numbers that exist regardless of how cardholders use their accounts.

Here are 10 steps consumers to take to make sure their information is safe:

1. Don't talk to cyber-strangers, and don't click on hyperlinks within emails from strangers.
2. Treat your smartphone like the computer it is.
3. Treat social networks like dark street corners.
4. Use the Net to your own advantage.
5. Get free help.
6. Think of a new word.
7. Never, ever give your Social Security number to anyone online.
8. Shred or safely store financial mail.
9. Fight back quickly.
10. Trust your gut.

Read more:

  • 116605
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    7 1 1
    Posted by orangearrows on June 15, 2011
    [reply] 4 0
    It surely had a learning curve to it - but it is the best way of banking. I could not imagine my day to day life without online banking / trading / transfer services. it would be very tough.
  • 116757
    Posted by YanBz on June 17, 2011
    [reply] 4 0
    NPR had an interesting podcast a couple days back. They went through the steps needed to buy a stolen credit card number and make a fake but working credit card. I think it is brilliant because understanding how criminals operate helps to be more aware of the problem and also be more alert.
  • 116782
    Posted by JesusIsLord on June 17, 2011 [reply] 0 0
    Some banks offer software to keep the user from accidentally entering their password on a false site by accident, but I find that it slows the computer down horribly, anyone else have that problem? Unfortunately, my bank was one in the list of the recent hackings...
  • 116831
    Posted by HouTex on June 18, 2011 [reply] 0 0
    Our bank gave us Trusteer's Rapport software to protect passwords, and there's no change in performance. You can download it for yourself (it's free) from - click on "Home User" at the top right and then "Download." It will "protect" passwords you choose (those you enter on secure sites like your bank) and alert you every time you try to use that same ID and password combination anywhere else.
  • 116954
    Posted by tutorchelle on June 20, 2011
    [reply] 1 0
    Thanks, HouTex. I did, and that's the one that slowed my computer down, then was almost impossible to uninstall Smile
    • HouTex
      Posted by HouTex on June 20, 2011 [reply] 0 0
      I'm very sorry to hear that. I didn't see that issue on my system, or I would never have recommended it. Red Face
      Were you able to complete the removal? If not, here are links to help for
      disabling it and
      manual removal - .

      Apparently it has some built-in safeguard against unauthorized removal, which you have to disable first.
    • 116958
    • HouTex
      Posted by HouTex on June 20, 2011 [reply] 0 0
      After reading your comment, I searched and found several reports of system slowdowns posted online, which Trusteer blames on other security software that may be installed on your system. Not sure if that's true or not, only that they don't take any responsibility for it and don't address it as their problem.
      Some users of the of the software have noted that it slows down your system. Trusteer counters that it’s most likely due to your other security software conflicting with what Rapport is trying to do.

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