Ask the expert: Follow these tips for safe online bankingMany people enjoy the convenience of doing all their banking over the Internet, but some consumers worry about the safety of their online transactions. The Minnesota Society of CPAs recommends that you ask these questions to ensure that your online bank dealings are secure.
Many people enjoy the convenience of doing all their banking over the Internet, but some consumers worry about the safety of their online transactions. The Minnesota Society of CPAs recommends that you ask these questions to ensure that your online bank dealings are secure.
You should deal with a bank only if your account there is insured by the FDIC. If you have up to $250,000 in an FDIC-insured bank account, including a checking or savings account or a certificate of deposit, the FDIC will reimburse your money if the bank fails. Look for the FDIC logo on the bank’s site and for the words “Member FDIC” or “FDIC insured.” It’s also a good idea to go to www.fdic.gov to locate the bank on the FDIC’s list of insured institutions. Remember, too, that according to the FDIC, banks chartered overseas may not benefit from FDIC insurance. If you’re considering an overseas bank, find out whether your money will be covered.
“Phishing” is a common scam in which consumers receive an e-mail purportedly from a legitimate organization — such as their bank — asking them to confirm personal information. Those who are taken in by these scams may end up unintentionally revealing their account numbers, Social Security number or other confidential details to thieves who will use the information to engage in illegal transactions. Banking online doesn’t make you more vulnerable to phishing attacks, but it’s certainly a problem you should be aware of. The best defense is to call your bank’s customer service number and verify that any communication you receive is legitimate.
Money Management is a series provided by the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants. For personal and small business information, go to www.mncpa.org or call (800) 331-4288.