Tip of the week # 473
18 January 2016

10 tips for safe online banking

Last week I was invited to appear on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Lunchtime Live Show. So I put on my best clothes, combed my hair (it's radio, man!) and drove to the studio to pop in for a chat with Charlie Thompson. Whereas initially I was told it would be "... for something similar to your articles on taming your computer" Charlie changed his mind and talked to me about online banking and phishing emails, whilst listeners were given the opportunity to text, email or ask their questions live on air. But hey, it made great tip inspiration as there are various measures you can take to protect yourself against the risks of online banking.

Here's how:

  1. Only use official online banking pages.
  2. Don't trust a link in an email that takes you straight to an Online Banking login page.
  3. Create passwords and PINs that are hard to guess.
  4. Never use the same password for all your electronic business.
  5. Avoid doing online banking when connected to a network you don't control.
  6. Look for 'https' (for secure) at the start of the web address when you pay or bank online.
  7. Protect your computer with up-to-date security software.
  8. Be wary of opening attachments or links in emails that you weren't expecting or from strangers. Or from fake emails from people you know.
  9. Don't be fooled ... banks will never ask for your login details via email, text or phone. Nor will they ask to transfer money to a new account.
  10. And just in case ... check your bank statements regularly.

If you follow these basic steps and stay vigilant, you can enjoy the convenience of online banking. (With special thanks to Kevin who contacted Charlie during the show to say he always makes an initial payment of 1 pound before transferring a big chunk of money to somebody who he has never paid before.)

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.