I introduced a friend to mobile check deposit the other day. He was wary. Is it really secure to just take a picture to put money in your account? The short answer is yes, if you take precautions. No technology is 100 percent secure, and there is always a risk of having your information stolen. There’s also always a risk of someone stealing your mail or skimming a card. Risk is everywhere. It’s up to you what you are willing to tolerate.
Whether you use mobile deposit or check your transaction history on your phone (and you should be checking regularly), you need to be alert to possible vulnerabilities and know the ways to prevent hackers from getting hold of your banking information.
For personal or business accounts, the Better Business Bureau urges you to keep a few things in mind when using online or mobile banking:
▪ Keep your software up to date. That means downloading system updates on your phone and installing antivirus software on your computer. Updates often come with security fixes to better protect your device from viruses or malware.
▪ Keep your passwords, personal information and bank account numbers private. Don’t share them with anyone unless you initiate the contact and know you are dealing with your bank or its mobile application.
▪ Don’t save passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), answers to secret questions or account numbers on your device. Make sure you use strong passwords. Turn on two-factor authentication when available.
▪ Set your devices to require passwords when they are powered up. Don’t let your bank account automatically log in or remember passwords.
▪ Don’t access your bank account via mobile or computer through free WiFi. WiFi at hotels, airports and coffee shops might be convenient for browsing and checking email, but it’s a playground for thieves. Use only secure WiFi when accessing any account that requires a password.
▪ Don’t respond to a text message or email asking for your banking information. It is likely a phishing attempt. Keep in mind how your financial institution normally contacts you, and be wary of anything out of the norm.
▪ Notify your mobile service provider and your bank if your phone is lost or stolen.
Dale Dixon is chief innovation officer for Better Business Bureau Northwest. 342-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org. This column appears in the Aug. 17-Sept. 20, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine as part of a special section on banking and finance. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).