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Reducing Your Risks On Mobile Banking

February 25, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Reducing Your Risks On Mobile Banking

First hackers showed the world what they could do by breaking into Target's computer systems.  Now cyber thieves are going after your bank accounts through apps to steal your financial information. 

Mobile banking continues to grow by double digits every year, with more than half of all smartphone users now downloading banking apps.  But as more consumers move to mobile, so do cyber criminals. 

"It's always at the top of our mind to make sure security is important and we're taking care of our members.  But it really is an education thing; and you kind of have to take it on your own and make sure you're doing it," Joey Rotert of Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union said.

One thing to do is to password protect your phone, but don't auto-save log-in information. 

"We don't actually even allow it.  Going in on our app, you don't have an option to auto save your password," Rotert said.

And while coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi, it's easier for criminals to access information on an open Wi-Fi network than on your 4G or 3G data network.

"I just don't care for the app because it's really confusing. I just find it easier to just go on the website from my cell phone and do it from there," consumer Richard Turcar said.

But banking apps are actually more secure than mobile browsers.  However, there are fakes known as Trojans, designed to steal your information.  So make sure you're getting the real thing. 

"If you have a financial institution and you're looking for their specific app, make sure you go to their website.  Generally they'll have a spot within their page," Rotert said.

Also make sure to install any updates, which usually increase security.

And finally, when it's time to upgrade your phone, make sure you erase all your financial information and apps off your old phone before you recycle it or resell it. 

Many banking apps allow depositing a check by taking a picture of it with your smartphone, but you may not get your money right way.  In many cases, banks will protect themselves against fraud by delaying access to the funds.

If you have an Android phone, be on alert.  One lab found that 98 percent of all mobile malware was targeted toward Android devices for a total of 10 million malicious Android apps.

For more information on secure mobile banking, click here.

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