It can’t be denied that online banking has taken the world by storm in recent years. It makes sending and receiving money and shopping online easier with a few taps, especially during the pandemic when people avoided in-person contact.
Although most people think online banking is only popular among the younger generation, surveys have shown otherwise. While a number of seniors are still doubtful about online banking or don’t feel secure using it, 100% of older adults aged 60+ say that they have completed online transactions in the last three to six months.
For seniors alone, using online banking is convenient but carries many risks. Several scenarios may deceive seniors, causing them to lose money despite extra layers of protection from banks. That’s why proceeding with caution and taking extra safety measures are crucial to ensure seniors’ bank accounts are intact. Let’s review 6 banking tips for your parents to keep their accounts safe.
Staying Safe While Doing Online Banking: 6 Tips For Seniors To Avoid Financial Abuse
Understanding Online Banking
Online banking, or Internet banking, is a platform that allows users to keep tabs on their bank account(s) using a digital device connected to the Internet, such as a smartphone, a computer, or a laptop.
In recent years, several banks have offered online banking as a quick and easy alternative to traditional banking by enabling customers to manage everything in one place. It offers the same services customers could only do at the counter back in the day but is now accessible with a few taps or clicks.
After opening an account, customers can enjoy a hassle-free banking experience at any time and from anywhere in the world, with a range of actions including:
- Viewing bank information and current balance, including savings, credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investments.
- Opening and closing accounts
- Depositing checks
- Managing direct debits
- Paying all kinds of bills
- Reviewing bank statements and transactions
- Adjusting overdraft and credit limit
- Making external and internal transfers
- Applying for new credit cards or loans
- Sending money internationally
More and more people prefer online banking for many reasons. Customers can forget about rushing to a bank branch before closing or waiting the whole weekend for banks to reopen. After downloading an application and setting up an account, they can execute banking actions right at home.
It is extremely convenient when customers need to do banking outside service hours. In other words, online banking is available 24/7 as long as customers have access to the Internet. Security-wise, for example, in the event of lost cards, they can freeze their cards immediately to prevent financial abuse.
This banking solution is particularly convenient for people often on the go or living abroad. It allows them to get a hold of their bank account activity and conduct transactions from afar without visiting a bank branch in their country of domicile.
Online Banking for Seniors: 6 Tips To Keep Money Safe
Create Strong Passwords
When owning an online bank account, the first rule to live by is using strong and unbreachable passwords. Simple and easy-to-guess passwords, including name and birthday, are a no-go in all cases because hackers can easily crack the codes.
Take time to choose a password that gives hackers a hard time to break into. To prevent malicious activities, such a layer of protection should be a series of at least 12 characters. Think of a random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, random numbers, and unique characters. In other words, the longer and more complicated passwords, the better.
Another trick your parents can use is choosing familiar or favorite phrases and replacing some letters with special characters. Of course, random passwords are difficult to remember. Help your parents store their passwords properly using password management apps.
Use Password Authenticator
Password authentication is a verification method that requires users to enter another code in order to access their accounts. It is an easy way to add security and prevent unauthorized access to banking accounts. The code is sent through a phone number connected to the account. Meaning when a hacker is hacking into accounts, they are unlikely to do so even if they enter the correct passwords.
Change Passwords Regularly
Another great tip to help seniors deter potential financial abuse is changing passwords regularly. When seniors change their passwords across their online platforms every three months, it becomes more challenging for scammers and hackers to break in.
Avoid Accessing Accounts On Public Wi-Fi
While public Wi-Fi allows for fast Internet access on the go, such networks widely available in coffee shops and restaurants can’t be trusted at any cost. This is because their weak security makes them vulnerable to hackers and scammers.
Remind your parents that it is best to avoid logging into banking accounts when they are on public networks. In an emergency, remind your parents that they can do it at home, use cell phone data to prevent their information from being breached, or use a virtual private network (VPN) to create a network that only they can access. Another tip to remember is never to use strangers’ laptops or computers to access bank accounts.
Check Accounts Frequently
Conducting frequent checks of transaction history is a must-do to prevent unauthorized withdrawals, charges, or transfers. Making it a habit to check their bank accounts also helps seniors spot any suspicious transactions and take quick action to protect their accounts, such as changing passwords and reporting fraudulent activities to the bank and police.
Signing up for banking alerts is another trick to keep money intact. Banking alerts, received via text message or emails, can notify seniors when money goes in and out of their accounts and other activities, such as new linked external accounts, failed log-in attempts, and personal information updates. It is an extra layer of security to ensure no fraud is in the making. Unlike regular check-ins, which require manual log-ins, banking alerts are far more convenient because they push notifications directly to phones and emails.
Be Aware of Links
When your parents are in the cyber world, being aware of phishing scams is crucial. Phishing involves fabricating email addresses, websites, and external links to lure unknowing victims into giving their personal information. For example, scammers can go the extra length to create promo emails or websites that resemble legitimate ones. However, once clicking on these dummy sites or links, seniors risk having their computer or smartphone tracked or hacked with malicious malware.
Be aware that no banks require information sharing, so remind your parents to exit the site immediately to prevent accidental clicking. Overall, it is best to double-check the address and call the bank directly to confirm its authenticity before proceeding further.
If you have questions about online banking for seniors with limited mobility or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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