Lots of you out there rely more and more on the internet to complete everyday tasks. You can shop online and get your news online. But when it comes to banking on the web do you think you're really safe? WLBT did some digging to help you protect your online accounts.
It's not hard to spot a bank. They're on just about every corner, but because of the internet it's very rare that Pearl resident Kevin Ferrell ever steps into a bank branch.Ferrell like many of us relies on the internet to do the majority of his banking.
"I think the main reason I do it really is because it's very convenient, I mean I don't know the last time I wrote a personal check," says Ferrell.
Ferrell says with online banking he's more organized. "It's less hassle you don't have to worry about getting stamps, writing checks, you know separating forms and statements, mailing things back in," says Ferrell.
Those conveniences certainly seem beneficial. But is the ease of online banking worth your online security? We spoke to some local experts to get their take.
Bill Moak, the president of Mississippi Better Business Bureau says, "online banking is actually very safe and its becoming safer with more security safeguards put in place."
Moak says if you bank online you need to always make sure your information is secured and encrypted. Web addresses with HTTPS indicate a secure site.
"An https site you can think of it as kind of a closed room where there are no other doors except the one you came through," says Moak.
Some other online banking tips are never to do your online banking from a public computer, like at work or a library. Also, you always want to make sure your passwords aren't easy like birthdays or the names of family members.
"Try to avoid those things use a combination of characters that aren't easily guessable," says Moak
We also took our online bank safety questions to John Allison, the Commissioner of Banking for Mississippi. Allison says you should always protect your P.C. with anti-viral security software.
Additionally, make sure your bank is FDIC insured. That guarantees insurance on accounts up to $250,000. Allison says, "I would certainly encourage a consumer to research their banks security procedures and what they do and how they do it and the safeguards they have."
You should also be very careful about putting private information like a social security number anywhere online, even if it's for the bank. "If they feel there's a problem in your account they're going to call you to initiate it, sometimes, I suggest turn around and call them back," says Allison.
If you follow these tips, your online banking experience should be pretty worry-free. "I worry a little and I'm concerned a little, but I try not to worry too much about it because again, I think that kind of spoils the whole reason for having technology at out availability," says Ferrell.
For more information on online bank security go to http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/online/safe.html.
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.
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