Ask Andy: Safe Banking - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andy Wise

Ask Andy: Safe Banking

The one thing that holds people back from banking online is security, even as online banking is becoming more and more secure.

Multiple viewers have asked me this question:

"Which one has the greater risk of theft...online banking or traditional banking?"

From private security consultants to Secret Service agents, everyone has a different answer.

My answer is:  traditional banking has the greater risk of theft.  

The more paper, receipts and checks you have tossed around in wallets, purses and dumpsters, the easier for thieves to steal your identity.

Paying your bills online eliminates that risk by eliminating paper.  But there is a risk to online banking, too -- especially with spyware and computer viruses.

"The real danger of electronic banking is when the problem (malware, Trojan virus, keylogger etc) is on the consumer's computer," says Spec. Agent Rick Harlow, the agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service's Memphis office.  "Then the bank is not liable for losses, and while (the bank) will likely make you whole, (it is) not required to."

My banking is a steady mix of online and traditional. I like to maintain personal, traditional relationships with my bank's tellers and officers.  Those relationships have been priceless in many circumstances. 

But the speed and ease of online banking is a must in my family's crazy schedule.

The key is making sure your bank's site is secure.  Look for an "s" after the "http" in the web address on the page where you conduct your transactions, then make sure your browser has the solid padlock icon in the bottom right-hand corner.  Together, they indicate the site is secure. 

Also, make sure your personal computer's anti-virus and spyware software is second to none.  I use Norton 360.

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