6 steps to safe online banking

November 18, 2007|By McClatchy-Tribune

Do you think using online financial services is just too risky? Well, think again. Online banking may actually leave you less vulnerable to fraud than traditional banking, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

To ensure that you don't fall prey to cyber fraud, be sure to follow some rules for safe online banking from Easy Money by Liz Pulliam Weston:

Install a firewall. A firewall is a software program designed to allow good people in and keep bad people out. Most new computers come with firewalls integrated into their operating systems.

Install and update anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. Microsoft and numerous application vendors offer users regular updates to existing anti-spyware programs. As for anti-virus protection, McAfee and Norton antivirus are popular choices.

Avoid accessing financial information in public. Resist logging on to check your bank balance when working from a coffee shop that offers wireless access.

Look for "locks." How can you tell if your financial site is really secure before you log on? The Web address should start with "https" instead of "http," says Weston. Also, look for a small lock icon in the lower-right corner of the browser window.

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