How to Bank Online Safely in Canada?

Today people in Canada can access a variety of banking services online. This option is more convenient than traditional banking, but it pays to be on the alert for identity theft and other internet scams. For instance in the United Kingdom, online banking fraud has gone up by 55 percent during 2009. More than 26 thousand phishing incidents have been reported during the first half of 2009. The number of incidents has increased by 26 percent compared to the same period last year. This increase is due to the more sophisticated methods used by criminals. They are increasingly targeting the personal computers of customers rather than the banks’ systems. Therefore, you have to be aware of the various ways in which criminals try to access your account and money.

The most common types of fraud are phishing and identity theft. Phishing refers to tricking users to use counterfeit websites with the purpose of stealing their private information. Identity theft is typically committed with the help of spyware or viruses and enables criminals to access the user’s bank account and other information stored on his computer.

It is best to be extra cautious about emails asking to disclose your personal information and supposedly sent by your banking institution. Banks will never request your personal details such as passwords and PIN numbers by email. You may contact your bank in case you receive scam emails. Another way to protect yourself from fraud is to look at your bank’s official website. Take a look at their About Us section, offered services, email address, and customer service number. Compare this information to the links you received on your email. Before you type in your personal information, check the security features of the bank’s website. Look for a key icon or lock somewhere on the screen. If you find one, it will show that online bankinginformation is scrambled or encrypted in order to prevent unauthorized access to your account. In addition, the addresses of secure websites start with ‘http’. You may bookmark the address of your bank so that you always access the right website.

As a further precaution, look at the insurance status of your banking provider. The bottom part of the website will typically contain phrases such as ‘FDIC Insured’/ ‘Member FDIC’ or the FDIC logo.

You have to also make sure that the computer you access your bank account from is secure. It is strongly recommended to use only your personal computer. Criminals will try to get their hands on your password and other personal information by means of spyware software and viruses. It is essential that you install anti-virus program, anti-spyware software, and a firewall. Don’t forget to download the latest Windows updates. Naturally, it is best to choose a strong password that contains a combination of symbols, numbers, and letters. Do not include your name, user name, company brand, or any other word that is easily recognizable. Learn your password and avoid keeping written record of it. Change your password at regular intervals to stay on the safe side. If you suspect unauthorized transactions, get in touch with your bank immediately.