Online banking is becoming more prevalent in our digital age and along with it, so is “cyberrobbery.”

According to a USA TODAY article, the number of software programs designed to steal from online bank accounts rose from 4,295 to 65,098 in less than one year. With nearly 80% of U.S. households doing their banking on the Internet, it is easy to see why these cyberattacks have become criminals’ new favorite way of conducting business.

Banks Turn to Customers For Help with Banking Protection

Banks are feeling the financial strain of trying to come up with ways to combat the problem. Doug Johnson, vice president of the American Bankers Association (ABA), said that one of the ways banks are paying is by reimbursing individuals who can prove they have been stolen from. In 2009, the ABA surveyed 170 U.S. banks and found that 85% of big banks have taken losses due to attacks on consumer online accounts. While changing to keep up with the 21st century, banks did not anticipate the prevalence of hackers and are asking customers to closely monitor their accounts. By checking accounts every day, you will be able to see any activity that is suspicious. Cyberattackers may not initially transfer a huge sum, instead patiently studying their victims’ activities and observing a series of transactions before they are ready to steal the money.

There are so many tools and hacking tutorials available for free that it is becoming easier and easier to steal money. As long as these thieves have the time to study up, create fake accounts and learn banking protocol they have all the necessary tools at their fingerprints.

5 Ways to Stay Safe

1. Check Your Account Daily

This seems like a an elementary form of protection but it can save you a lot of money. Cyberthieves study accounts before they start transferring money. They also have to set up a different account by posing as you so watch for E-mail alert changes.

2. Update Your Contact Information

If you have moved or switched E-mail addresses it is important to let your bank know this. By updating your contact information you will receive notice of account changes and will find it easier to keep organized.

3. Protect Your Password

Although the “save and remember the password” feature is convenient, it makes fraud easier for a thief. Make sure to come up with a password that isn’t easily replicable. Avoid names, birthdays, addresses or anything else that can be found on the web.

4. Limit Your Web Presence

You should not broadcast personal information online. Being up-to-date on the latest technology and trending sites can be important, but be careful what you have up there. If you have your resume online, be sure to remove your address and phone number.

5. Use the Internet Wisely

If you are directed to a new page make sure it is the bank’s valid site. Any URLs that don’t start with “https://” should not be trusted. Try to avoid websites and advertisements that offer you opportunities to make fast and easy money. It is also beneficial to clear your computers cache and history so that transactions are not stored in your computers memory.

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