9 Tips to Avoid Mobile Banking Scams

It’s great that things have gone digital as it lessens the hassle of going to different offices and agencies in order to make a transaction. This is especially true when it comes to online banking and sending money to loved ones in the Philippines or even in other countries. While these transactions are more convenient for us, we should also be careful when handling mobile transactions as there are also a lot of scams that are prevalent these days. Many people are taking advantage of the new technology and we should be alert in determining which banking transactions are legit and which ones are scams.

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Technology has become both a boon and a bane to most people these days. Technology has indeed helped make our lives more convenient and accessible. And with it, we have also seen the disadvantages of this – lesser face-to-face interactions, lesser focus on skills that require us to build something with our own hands, as well as personalities that are dependent on immediate gratification.

But one of the best things that technology has helped us with, especially these days, is the convenience of performing transactions that would have otherwise taken us long hours waiting in a queue to accomplish. This is the beauty of online and mobile banking.

However, with this comes the threat of security breaches and falling into the hands of scammers and other entities that would like to take advantage of our data and money. In this post, we will share some useful tips to help you avoid becoming the next mobile banking scam victim.

9 Tips to Avoid Mobile Banking Scams

Do These 9 Things to Avoid Becoming the Next Mobile Banking Scam Victim

Whether we like it or not, internet-powered platforms such as online and mobile banking will be part of our lives moving forward. We’ve seen its usefulness and impact during the pandemic and have greatly benefited from it in one way or another. 

Mobile banking allows users to perform transactions as simple as checking one’s account balance to more sophisticated ones such as paying monthly bills and online stores where users get their commodities from.

And whenever you perform transactions online, there is a very real threat of exposing your data because you send important information on the web, which, if captured by the wrong people, can deal great damage to your security as well as finances. 

To avoid falling into such circumstances, you must equip yourself with the knowledge of safe online banking practices to avoid fraudulent schemes and tactics that may compromise your bank accounts. You can start with these 9 do’s and don’ts.  

1. Only download the official mobile banking app of your bank.

When downloading apps via the internet, make sure that you’re getting the official version – this does not only apply to mobile banking apps but for every app you’re installing on your phone. This is because advanced level scammers can easily create a fake copy of an app online. If you fail to check whether the app is verified, then you might download a fake version of the app, which could potentially cost you some losses. 

For this reason, you need to check your bank’s official website first and see how and where to download their official app online. Only then should you input your credentials and other important details on the app.  

2. Use strong passwords for your phone and mobile banking apps.

One of the basic things you can do to protect yourself as well as the information stored on your phone is by using a strong password on your device as well as the mobile app. That’s right, you need to use two different passwords (as much as possible) so your data can’t be easily accessed when your device falls into the wrong hands. (Hopefully not!)

But you can start doing these simple things to protect your phone and mobile apps against unauthorized use: 

  • Use strong passwords for your mobile device and banking app(s). Remember to combine upper and lowercase alphanumeric characters, or as per recommendations by the app.
  • Use unique passwords for your device, banking app, email, and social media accounts. 
  • Make it a habit to change your passwords regularly. While it’s convenient to use only a couple of passwords for your apps, phone, as well as social media accounts, you shouldn’t keep them for a long time as they can be exposed to vulnerabilities, too. Some apps automatically request a password change after a couple of months. So if your app has this feature, make sure to set it ON.
  • Do not auto-save your passwords on any of your devices. Yes, it may be quite difficult to remember your unique passwords, but entering your password each time you use your apps/device is the safer way of using online platforms.
  • If your phone gets lost or stolen, make sure to immediately report it to your bank. After doing so, reset your password right away by logging into your mobile banking account on another secure device.

3. Be careful when using mobile banking apps when in public locations. 

It’s inevitable to use your phone (or even your mobile banking app) in public spaces such as in public transport, in crowded malls, or when you line up in a store. In this manner, people can easily take a quick peek at your phone screen. While some may unintentionally be doing it, others may have a bad motive. 

For this reason, you must perform your online banking transactions when you’re in a secluded place safe from onlookers. 

4. Do not connect to a public Wi-Fi network. 

When going outside to malls, your favorite coffee shop, or the airport, you may be tempted to maximize your time by paying your bills or sending money using your mobile banking app.

However, you need to remember that it is not a safe practice to connect to a public Wi-Fi network such as those offered in airports, hotels, cafes, and other public places. Although this can be a little bit on the technical side, it’s worth knowing that mobile apps, unlike websites, do not have proper encryption and security indicators such as the “https”. This makes them more prone to hacking and identity theft.  

5. Keep your phone’s Bluetooth device turned off as much as possible.

Another way through which your phone and app’s data can be compromised is by leaving your Bluetooth on, which makes your device detectable in public locations. 

That said, remember to turn off your device’s Bluetooth option when you don’t need it, or if you can help it, never turn your Bluetooth when going outside.   

6. Do not share sensitive information on social media.

Always keep in mind that some things are better kept off your social media accounts including your personal information such as your full name, birth date, and address – more so your credentials! Remember, while it’s cute to make little life updates, oversharing on social media is most of the time frowned upon. So, do not go there and be careful when leaving information in your posts or even in your messages!

7. Always keep your phone’s Operating System (OS) and apps up to date. 

Ever had that notification on your phone telling you that it’s time to get an OS update? Did you know that you can also get updates for your apps if you’re paying close attention? You will need to check your app store to see if there are updates that you can get for your apps if they’re not set to auto-update. 

Downloading these updates will ensure that your device has all the latest OS and app versions, which means more secure data and higher security for your phone and personal accounts. 

8. Make it a habit to regularly check your mobile banking transactions.

The use of the mobile banking app will make it easier for account holders to check their accounts as often as they want. That said, you must take advantage of this feature and check your transactions regularly to check if all the transactions that have been logged in your account’s activities, and indeed, yours.

9. Do not forget to log-off after use. 

The last and final tip is basic, but a lot of people still neglect or forget to do: to log off their apps after use. But let’s mention it once and for all, logging off from your app will ensure that no one can readily access your account if you misplace or lose your device. 

Banking using a mobile app is indeed convenient, but being reckless in doing so can also cause you a lot of stress and hassle, and this is something that you don’t want to experience, especially when your safety and finances are on the line. By applying the above-mentioned do’s and don’ts, you can secure your device and bank account effectively while enjoying all the features and benefits offered by your mobile banking app. 

With the knowledge on how you can properly protect yourself against online scammers, you can better enjoy the benefits offered by mobile banking apps, and other breakthroughs offered by the internet. Remember, your first line of defense is ‘knowing’ what you’re up against. By identifying what the enemy is or what you’re dealing with, you can better prepare and carry out useful adjustments that can ultimately enhance your online experience in the age of the internet and mobile technologies.  

Have you experienced any security issues with your mobile banking app? What was that experience like? Are there any tips you can share with other online bank users who might find themselves at risk for online fraud and scams? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the section below!

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