Shopping online and transferring money via online financial platforms has made our lives more comfortable. But such financial operations come with the risk of fraud and identity theft among other security threats.
While most people know the potential risks when making online transactions, many of them still don’t secure their data well enough.
To avoid exposing your data, take a look at our list of 5 measures to keep your online financial operations secure.
#1 Keep Your Credentials Safe
The easiest way for hackers to get their hands on your financial data is exploiting your weak login credentials.
Many people use the same password for several accounts because it’s easier to remember. However, doing so leaves you exposed to a greater risk of cyber attacks because hackers can easily spot this mistake.
Start by creating different passwords for each of your online accounts. That’s especially relevant for payment platforms such as PayPal. Since you will probably have to change lots of passwords now, make sure to make them stronger by including digits and capital letters. Include special characters too if the website allows them. Research Password Managers to find one that will keep track of all of your passwords and help you create secure passwords that are hard to crack.
Also, log out of your online account once you’re done using it to prevent others from using it when you step away. Many online financial platforms will log you out of your account after 15 minutes of inactivity. If your platform doesn’t have the automatic option, take the extra step and press the Logout button. That way, your data will not be exposed to unnecessary threats.
#2 Use Reputable Online Financial Services
Shopping online or transferring money to a friend or colleague? The best way to keep your transactions secure is to use a reputable transaction service.
For example, if you’re shopping at some e-commerce store for the first time, always pay for your order with PayPal. You won’t have to provide your credit card information so the data will remain safe from possible risks.
Refrain from using one-click ordering or easy-pay payment methods because those are often not secure. It is also important to pay attention to what kind of site you’re shopping on. Make sure the website has a padlock security icon in front of the URL and that its URL has an “s” in the “https:” section.
#3 Avoid Using Public WiFi
The one thing you should never be doing is transferring money online over public WiFi hotspots.
We are often tempted to log into our financial accounts in a hurry when we don’t have access to secure networks. Doing so allows hackers to trace every step we make online and to steal our personal information.
Whenever you log into a public network, you become an easy target for any hacker who may be waiting for their opportunity to strike. For the sake of your online security, avoid connecting your devices to public WiFi.
#4 Watch out for Scammers
Online phishing scams are one of the most common methods hackers use to access people’s financial accounts. While many people have heard about this tactic, there is always someone who falls for such tricks.
Phishing schemes most often take place via email platforms. A user receives an email with an invitation or offer that seems too good to miss. They end up clicking on the link embedded in the message. The link takes them to a website that looks identical to the original site of a popular brand or a company. Seeing the familiar colors and layout, the user won’t hesitate to make the purchase and submit their sensitive data right into the hacker’s hands.
In order to avoid these scams, never click on email links unless you are 100% sure where they come from. When in doubt, contact the company over the phone to make sure the offer is genuine.
#5 Use a Virtual Private Network
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is the best tool you can use to secure your online financial operations. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel for your data to travel to, meaning no one else can track it except you. Using a VPN will not only make your online transactions safer but improve your overall security on the internet.
Make sure to use a paid VPN every time you make an online transaction to ensure your data is fully encrypted. A VPN for Android will also keep your data and device secure in case you really have to connect to a public network. You can download it here.
Cybercriminals are finding new ways and methods to hack into our security systems on a regular basis. Without adequate security measures, we often leave ourselves exposed to security threats such as password and data theft, fraud, and identity theft. To make sure your financial operations are as secure as they can be, use a VPN every time you make a transaction. Also, don’t forget to strengthen your passwords.