While mobile banking is a great convenience for our customers, it does introduce some new risks. Banks like Redwood Capital Bank are making it easier and more convenient than ever for you to manage your daily financial transactions. Just a few short years ago, cash and checks were the primary ways to handle payments and move money. Then came debit cards. And now, mobile banking has put your bank in your pocket through your smart phone.
- Download Your Bank’s App from a Secure App Store. Cyber criminals have been known to send e-mails with apps that look like they are coming from your bank, when they are not. Don’t fall for these solicitations. The best place to download your bank’s mobile app is from the official Apple or Google App store. These apps tend to be more secure than SMS message or email. Most financial institutions will include a section on their web site to let you know about the official app, like on our RCB Mobile Banking page.
- Enable Account Alerts. Some mobile banking systems will allow you to sign up to get text messages on your mobile phone or e-mails if your account balance drops below a set dollar amount, which can help ensure that you don’t overdraw your account. You may be able to receive text alerts if your bank observes “suspicious” — potentially fraudulent — transactions involving your account. Mobile account alerts are an easy way to monitor what is going on with your checking account in real time.
- Pick a Complex Password and Don’t Share It. Make it a priority that your bank’s mobile app is locked up when you are not using it and that you are the only one that has access to your account. That can be accomplished by making sure that you have a password with strong attributes. Use unusual combinations of upper and lower case letters and special characters like exclamation points and question marks. And change your password periodically as a safeguard. Don’t share your password with anyone. If you must write down your password, DO NOT keep it with your mobile device.
- Avoid banking while on public networks. Many mobile devices allow you to connect to different types of networks, including public Wi-Fi networks. Never log in to your online banking account while connected a public Wi-Fi network. If you need to access your account information, switch to a secure network. If you're using a smartphone or other cellular device, disable the Wi-Fi and switch to the cellular network
- Don’t follow links. Phishing refers to the practice of tricking someone into revealing private information via a text message, an email or even a fake Web site designed to mimic your financial institution’s official site, which is called spoofing. Never follow a link sent to you in an unsolicited or unfamiliar text message or email. Mutual 1st Federal will never ask for your account information or password via text message or e-mail.
- Be careful what you download. Keylogger is a program that records -- or logs -- keystrokes. Every letter or number you enter into your phone could be recorded. If a hacker pairs a keylogger with some code that either sends off an email or text message at certain times of the day, you might be sending all your keystrokes to someone anywhere on the globe. You should still be careful when downloading any apps.
- Be Prepared to Disable Your Device if it is Lost. If your mobile device is lost, always assume that it is stolen. Make sure that you have enabled any features offered by your device manufacturer that will disable your device if it is lost or stolen. Also, know what your wireless provider offers so that you can access your device remotely to erase content or turn off access to your mobile device account. These steps are the equivalent of steps you would take when a wallet was lost or stolen such as canceling your credit cards. The good news is that if you set up and are aware of the disabling processes in advance, you can limit the potential exposure you have to someone hacking into your phone and its apps, including your mobile banking app. Finally, closely monitor your bank account for any unauthorized transactions and let your bank know immediately if any occur.
Mobile banking offers new convenience and ease in your banking transactions. Whether checking on your account balance, transferring funds between accounts, depositing a check, or monitoring activity, mobile banking adds to the ways banks like Redwood Capital Bank provide you with the tools to manage your money the way you want and when you want. Just remember to take steps to protect your account security.