Banks are seeing an exponential growth in online transactions, with customers using them to invest, save, pay bills and transfer money. They try and provide us with a secure environment for online and mobile transactions, but as customers, we too need to take precautions to ensure that we do not become victims of online fraud. Here are some really simple things we can do to protect ourselves: One of the first steps is to protect our devices from viruses. Anti-virus software iis available online, but be sure you only purchase or use anti-virus protection from a reputed company. More importantly, it is critical to update the anti-virus software regularly by downloading the updates sent by the software manufacturer. Furthermore, as a precaution, we can also check the website of our operating systems for updates and patches. Most financial (banking, credit/debit card) frauds start with “phishing”, a term used to describe the practice of trying to extract sensitive information through email by masquerading as a known institution like a bank/popular shopping website. A phishing email will typically urge you to enter confidential details either on the email itself or ask you to click on a link which will open a replica of the actual bank website and ask you to enter personal details. Fraudsters may also use a combination of email phishing, vishing (voice phishing over the phone) and SMS phishing to get customer details, which can then be used to get access to their internet banking accounts. Remember, banks rarely, if ever, ask for these details over the phone and email. Using strong passwords is again a simple but effective step to take as an online banking customer. Ensure your passwords are at least eight characters long and contain alpha-numeric and special characters. Avoid using commonly available information like your date of birth in your passwords. It is recommended that you change your password every 60 days. Furthermore, never store or write down your ID and password information where others could access it. If you are using wi-fi, broadband or any other channels as a point of access to your internet or mobile banking, secure these entry points to your computer with a strong password as well. The fourth item on your checklist has to do with access. If you have a wireless router at home, ensure it is locked. You should avoid accessing your internet banking account from a cyber cafe. If you do, never store your username or password for future visits. Be sure to log off and clear the cache memory of the computer. Most of us access our online banking websites at home or from our workplace. These sources are safe if we follow the steps mentioned above. Moreover, when conducting online transactions, look for a sign that the site is secure, such as a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a “https:” URL, where the “s” stands for “secure” connection. Many of us shift jobs, houses or cities. It is very important to keep your bank updated with your contact information. This enables the bank to keep you informed of any changes that take place on the website, in their internet banking policy and so on. It is a good practice to keep up-to-date with your account through mobile banking.