Staying smart while banking online

The idea of needing to be mindful of your financial cybersecurity isn’t new — but it is more vital than ever.

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Along with tactics such as phishing and malware, new sophisticated technology has emerged that more subtly and cleverly puts users at risk, and makes their data more vulnerable. Additionally, amid the pandemic, there’s more information stored online than ever. This is another reason why staying smart while banking online is vital. 

Knowing a few crucial approaches to keep your financial data safe as well as how to identify the right tools for your cybersecurity toolkit can help you bank confidently, feeling good that your data is as secure as possible.

Be Aware of Common Scams – and Use Common Sense

Awareness of common scams is foundational for keeping yourself, and your financial data, safe online. Although threats change, many of the same underlying tactics remain the same. Most scammers prey on our desire to act quickly online. We often overlook what looks common to us: a fraudulent email may look like one you’re used to receiving. This may make us quick to click on a malicious link or to not notice warning signs.

Common sense is often the best tool in your arsenal for staying safe online. Security experts recommend slowing down before you open a link, reply to an email, or click on an attachment.1 Email phishing is a longstanding scam that has evolved over the years. It’s still as much of a threat as ever though, especially because scammers send increasingly sophisticated-looking spoof emails to trick people into letting their guard down. 

Before you click on a link or open an attachment in an email, look a little bit closer. See if the sender email is actually who you think it’s from, as you will sometimes be able to see that certain letters or domain names in an email look off. Check the address in an email link before you click on it, as these too can be spoofed. Last but not least, be sure to confirm that a co-worker or relative sent you an attachment before you download it. These simple steps help you avoid giving scammers access to sensitive information—all you need to do is slow down and trust your gut.

Understand the Importance of Passwords

Passwords are so important that they are in a category of their own, as far as staying safe online is concerned. Passwords are the key to accessing nearly any account, but they’re also notoriously difficult for people to manage. It’s estimated that people reuse the same password up to 13 times across different websites.2 This can leave you vulnerable to account hacks across several different websites.

The urge to use the same, memorable password across multiple sites is common. So too are easily guessed passwords, such as names or words. Instead, use distinct passwords that consist of numbers, letters, and special characters. Longer passwords are harder to crack than short ones, too. If all of this is too hard to remember, consider using a password manager and make paper backups. This can help you create and store unique and more secure passwords. No matter what you do, be sure to generate distinct online banking passwords to keep your financial information safe.

Know When to Share Your Personal Information

Some of the most pernicious scams ask for your personal information directly, often through your phone. Spoofed text messages claiming to be from your bank, credit card company, or others can trick you into clicking on a message that hands over your information. Even if you use text messages for two-factor authentication, you’re still at risk of compromising your accounts.

Be sure that you only click on and interact with text messages you’re expecting. Don’t click on links asking you to verify a login attempt unless you’re expecting a message. Be aware that some companies, like Voya, never ask for your personal information. This includes passwords or other sensitive information. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact a company’s technical support website or phone number.

Choose Tools That Prioritize Your Online Safety

A big part of making sure your financial data is secure is using tools that are built specifically with your safety in mind. This includes foundational features, such as requiring complex passwords and making it easy to report suspicious activity online. There are additional features, however, such as biometric identification, that can keep you even safer when you bank online.

Voya commits itself to keeping your financial accounts and personal information safe from fraud attempts, cyber threats, and unauthorized activity. The Voya S.A.F.E.® (Secure Accounts for Everyone) Guarantee assures you that Voya will restore the value of your account subjecting to your satisfaction of a few key steps. Voya S.A.F.E.® is available for your workplace retirement account or Voya-administered Individual Retirement Account when assets are taken due to unauthorized activity through no fault of your own.

Pairing Smart Security with Industry-Leading Features

Staying safe online begins with staying smart and alert. As advanced as safety technology has become, threats evolve to try to outwit these safeguards. That’s why experts say that your best defense begins with good online habits. Think rationally about the kinds of messages you receive: check the text grammar and spelling mistakes, complex or inconsistent links, and the circumstances for the request for information you receive. 

It helps to work with field leaders in terms of cyber safety, too. Voya leads the way in terms of software to help you manage finances online safely. We also offer ways to make things right when your account is breached due to no fault of your own. Online vigilance is a necessity, but Voya adds extra measures to help keep your information safe. This is also true for the Voya app, which incorporates cutting-edge tools that can help you bank with confidence.

Related Items

1. 4 Things You Can Do To Keep Yourself Cyber Safe | CISA.

2. Ng, A. (2019, December 25). Everything You Know About Passwords Could Be Wrong. CNBC.