Many banks in the Gambia have introduced internet or online banking system where customers can transact or issue instructions to the bank. The use of these online facilities have inherent risk of internet fraud and therefore customers should take special care towards protecting their bank accounts.
One BBC reports confirm the fact that online fraud is increasing year-on-year with many criminals having a demonstrably greater grasp on technology than many of the institutions they are targeting. If the banks are working very hard to ensure online banking accounts are safe and secure, customers should also take special care when accessing and transacting on the online platforms:
Here we share few tips with you
1. Create a strong password
Password is the key that give access to an online banking details. Customers must ensure their password is secured and protected. Here are few password tips
- Create passwords according to the website requirements e.g mix letters, numbers and special characters ( @ ! *)
- Avoid the use of personal information like your birthday or nick name, spouses name etc.
- Don’t choose passwords using dictionary words, names or parts of names, phone numbers, dates, etc.
- Choose passwords that aren’t easy to guess by hackers.
- Never share your online banking passwords or write them down
- Choose a different password for each account. For example, don’t use the same password on the online banking accounts and social media.
2. Update your computer programs and anti-malware
- Ensure proper security settings are in place like up-to-date antivirus software as well as updated operating systems. For example download the latest Window updates as some of these release comes with security features.
- Keep your computer browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox), and product software (Microsoft Office/Adobe flash, etc.) up to date. Software providers frequently develop updates and patches to address new and developing security threats.
3. Be smart on social networks
- Think before you share personal information. Don’t share what you don’t want to be seen by the public e.g hide your birthday on social media. Hackers can use them to reset your passwords.
- Avoid accepting new friends that have very activities and are not your real friends.
- Do not send email to friends you just met on social media and they start asking you to contact them via email. Most of them are 419ners.
- Set privacy settings to allow only friends to see content
4. Two factor authentication
Ask your bank to provide two-factor authentication on all your online bank accounts. For example use of password and one-time password (OTP). OTP could be software or through the use of hardware (token)
5. Browse safely
- Be cautious about downloading applications. Only install applications that come from trusted and well-known sites.
- Avoid free WiFi e.g. the use of WiFi at airport, restaurant etc. Sending information over unprotected connections is risky.
- Avoid accessing your online banking accounts from multiple computers or devices such as shared computer.
- Never proceed with processing an online shopping transaction if a certificate error is received.
- Don’t select “remember passwords”. If this option is chosen, anyone with access to your computer can sign-in as you.
- Always log out when you are done with your online banking transactions. Do not just close the browser.
- Don’t allow websites to keep credit or debit card information.
- Don’t click through suspicious emails.
- If you’re banking on a shared computer, you’re putting your account at risk. This includes Internet cafes or general office computer.
6. Other general online banking tips
- Always protect your user ID and token details
- If you suspect your password has been tempered or revealed, just changed it immediately
- If you think you’ve been a victim of online banking or ID fraud, notify your bank as soon as possible.
- Regularly check your bank account and statements for suspicious transactions. If you spot something unfamiliar, report it to your bank as soon as you can.
Identifying suspicious emails
You may receive email notifications in which the sender claims to be working for your bank. Most of these mails are traps and you should be very careful before opening any email from your bank (unknown person). Here are few points to note about bank email communications :
- Requests for personal information. No bank will ever ask you to reply in an email with any personal information such as your ATM card number, password or PIN.
- Urgent appeals. No bank will claim your account may be closed if you fail to confirm, verify or authenticate your personal information via email.
- Messages about system and security updates. No bank will ask you to confirm important information due to upgrades and state that you must update your information online.
Online banking allows you to do so much more without visiting any branch or location of the bank, however it can also make you lose all your life savings without visiting the branch.
This is not to discourage anyone from online banking system but to remind you about the need to join force with banks in protecting yourself and the bank.
Thank you and feel free to share your experience on online banking.