1. Monitor your accounts regularly. Check your accounts regularly to make sure all transactions posted are ones you authorized. Report any fraudulent or suspicious activity to your bank. Get into the habit of monitoring your accounts every few days and always after you’ve done any type of online shopping. You will want to make sure your account was charged appropriately and that your account number isn’t being used for other purchases you didn’t make.
2. Change your passwords regularly. Avoid using the same password across multiple sites and make sure you are choosing a strong password that is a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using any words or phrases that contain your name, initials, or your birthday. Also get into the habit of changing them every couple of months.
3. Access your accounts from a secure location. Avoid using unsecured wireless access points to jump online and log in to your online accounts. You should access these accounts when you’re certain you have a secure connection. Unsecured wireless access points, such as those found at airports, coffee shops, and hotels, are easy to intercept and someone could easily collect the information you’re using to log in.
4. Protect your computer. Make sure you’re running anti-virus protection software and the firewall is turned on so you aren’t vulnerable to any type of virus that might be downloaded and installed from a malicious site. Take the time to review different programs and pay a little extra for a higher-quality one that will provide you with protection when you are banking online, shopping online, or just opening emails.
5. Keep your system up-to-date. Whether you’re using a laptop or desktop computer to access the Internet, make sure you’re downloading appropriate updates and keeping your system up-to-date. Run anti-virus scans regularly and authorize system updates as needed. Some of the leading Trojan horse viruses only work on outdated systems, so your computer may be more vulnerable to an attack unless you continually update it. You can also run scans on a schedule to double-check for bugs.