As devastating as it can be to lose your wallet and subsequently all of your credit cards, debit cards, and personal identification, it can be even more dangerous to not realize that all of that same information can be accessed using online methods and your very own computer.
Bank hacking is becoming an increasingly prominent problem. Thieves are able to access your personal bank accounts and other information by gaining access to your home or work computer. Experienced hackers not only have the skills to break into your computer and view your personal data, they also have very creative ways of distributing your money – making it incredibly difficult for you to recover what is lost. For many people who have been hacked, there is a lot of red tape involved with the recovery process, and there are no guarantees you will even get back a dime of what you have lost.
Smart Technology, Smarter Criminals
In some cases, it is all too easy to crack the necessary information to access another’s bank account. Now that a large percentage of the population is addicted to smartphones and other mobile technology, hackers can access your information any time you leave your phone unattended or your wireless security unsecured. Consider how you access your own bank account information from your phone. Do you have your log in details saved? Do you remember to log out after each use? Some thieves have an extremely easy job simply because you do all of the hard work for them!
Other hacking jobs are much more complex and beyond the understanding of non-hackers. The main point is that no matter how the hackers gain access, it will be you that takes the loss. Without proper protection from these experienced criminals, your smart technology will not get you very far but the hackers will score an easy victory – along with the money in your accounts.
Some thieves will hack into a system repeatedly, moving small amounts of cash around so it is almost undetectable. As many consumers tend to put off balancing the checkbook or monitoring bank accounts on a regular basis, they end up not missing these small transactions and allowing the thieves to strike over and over again. While they may be taking small sums of your cash at a time, it all adds up in the end.
Resolution is No Picnic
Anyone who has ever lost a credit card or bank card can testify to the difficulties and frustrations associated with money recovery and card replacements. Your accounts probably had to be frozen for a few days leaving you without access to your cash. If cards have been used fraudulently, there is additional red tape to track down the missing money – if it is even possible.
When it comes to having your account hacked online, it can be even more difficult to just establish your claim. The moving around of money was done by someone who logged into your account, so technically it can be hard to prove you didn’t “steal” your own money. Add to the situation the likelihood that money has been moved into many different accounts as a diversion tactic, you will end up spending many hours dealing with multiple banks and other sources in an attempt to reclaim your stolen funds. Unlike with a stolen debit card or credit card, you are not guaranteed any level of protection when your money has been tampered with by criminals. It can develop into a long, unending process trying to restore what was taken from you.
It is important to never become too lax in your protection of personal and financial information. If you are going to do your banking online or via your mobile phone or other device, make sure you are covering all bases where protection is concerned.
Pay Attention – be sure you always log out of your bank website after use. If you leave your computer or phone unattended with the details open on the screen, don’t be surprised if money goes missing. Be diligent about protecting your personal property and don’t allow your technology to leave your sight when you are out in public. People who are noticeably not attentive to their surroundings are often the first target a thief will focus on in person and online.
Get Updated – if you are not sure how to protect your computer from hacking attempts and other technology problems such as viruses and malware, hire someone who does. The money you spend on a computer upgrade by a professional can be insignificant compared to the money you are capable of losing in a hacking attempt. If you are doing the work yourself, make sure to have updates to your anti-virus programs on a consistent basis. Use firewalls that can alert you to rogue programs trying to access your information.
Be Financially Diligent – It is important to keep tabs on your bank accounts daily. Log in each day to check your balance and ensure there are no strange transactions that have taken place from one day to the next. If you only tend to your bank transactions once a month, it will be much easier for thieves to be successful. If you are diligent about checking your information, you are going to notice problems early on.
Go Old School – Online banking is certainly a convenience but there are still ways to check your information without the Internet’s involvement. Contact your bank by phone to check balances and activity information or stop by a local branch if you can.
Change Your Password – If your password for every account you own was, is, and has always been PASSWORD, you better get more serious about online security. You should start out with a strong password that is not easily guessed. Use a combination of numbers and letters that are not found in the dictionary. Change the passwords on accounts every few months to add further protection. Never give anyone the log in information to any of your online accounts.
Don’t rely on the banking institution to provide the necessary protection you need to thwart hackers. You also need to ensure your technology is protected through proactive computer maintenance and basic common sense.